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Mar 3, 2011

GSK Nixes Neuroscience Collaboration with Targacept

  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has decided to axe its alliance with Targacept, which covered five therapeutics areas: addiction, obesity, pain, Parkinson disease, and smoking cessation. The termination comes as a result of GSK reportedly making strategic changes in its neuroscience focus.

    Effective in May, the firms will no longer work together. Targacept will have full rights to the programs developed thus far.

    GSK has two analgesics in clinical development. Losmapimod, a p38 kinase inhibitor, and Horizant (1838262), a voltage-gated calcium channel modulator, are both in Phase II trials. The firm also has a multibillion dollar discovery and development partnership with NeuroSearch focused on anxiety and pain. The companies have a Phase IIb candidate for depression and at least five preclinical candidates. GSK also has a Phase I-stage candidate for obesity called 1521498, which is a mu-opioid receptor inverse agonist.

    Targacept and GSK entered into their agreement in July 2007. The goal was to discover, develop, and market therapeutics that selectively target specified neuronal nicotinic receptors. Under terms of the agreement Targacept received $45 million from GSK, which included a $15 million equity investment.

    “Our alliance with GlaxoSmithKline provided us with substantial funding at a key time in Targacept’s evolution, helping us stay at the forefront of NNR research and grow our pipeline of novel product candidates with diverse NNR pharmacologies,” says J. Donald deBethizy, Ph.D., Targacept’s president and CEO.

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