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Glaxo signs deal with Concert on early stage drugs

June 02, 2009
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GlaxoSmithKline PLC signed a potential $1 billion deal with U.S. biotech company Concert Pharmaceuticals to access deuterium-containing medicines, a deal that will beef up its pipeline of early stage drugs, reported by the Associated Press. Glaxo will gain the rights to three research programs by privately held Concert -- a protease inhibitor for HIV due to start Phase I clinical trials this year, a preclinical drug for chronic kidney disease and a third unspecified product. Deuterium is a safe, non-radioactive relative of hydrogen that can be isolated from seawater and has been used extensively in human metabolic and clinical studies. As deuterium is heavier than hydrogen, it forms a stronger chemical bond to a carbon atom of a molecule, which may substantially improve a drug''s metabolic properties, potentially resulting in better efficacy. Lexington, Massachusetts-based Concert said it would receive $35 million upfront, including a $16.7 million equity investment. The company is also eligible to receive milestone payments and tiered, double-digit royalties based on deuterium-containing products arising from the Concert pipeline programs and from any Glaxo pipeline compounds. Combined with the upfront payment, Concert said it has the potential to receive in excess of $1 billion. Concert will retain full rights to further develop and commercialize its product candidates in any program that Glaxo chooses not to license.
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