GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will partner with Idera Pharmaceuticals to research, develop and commercialize selected molecules from Idera’s third-generation antisense platform against targets in renal disease.

The deal, announced today by Idera, could generate up to $100 million-plus for Idera, starting with the $2.5 million that GSK agreed to pay upfront under the companies’ exclusive worldwide collaboration and license agreement.

Idera has two drug discovery platforms based on novel nucleic acid therapeutics: Gene silencing oligonucleotides (GSOs), and toll-like receptor (TLR) antagonists implicated in conditions that include autoimmune diseases and forms of lymphoma.

Idera says it is using its GSO platform to pursue third-generation antisense drug candidates for a variety of genetically derived disorders.

“Based on its validation in preclinical models, we believe our GSO technology has the potential to overcome the remaining hurdles of current antisense technologies, including efficient delivery without a carrier, reduced immunotoxicity, and increased potency,” Idera states on its website.

Idera added that it is continuing to conduct preclinical studies, with the goal of advancing GSO drug candidates into clinical development. The company said it is evaluating opportunities to clinically demonstrate its GSOs in established disease targets as well as identifying new targets for development and commercialization.

GSK agreed to pay Idera approximately $100 million in payments tied to development and regulatory milestones. Idera is also eligible to receive royalties on all sales upon commercialization at varying rates up to five percent on annual net sales above $500 million.

“This collaboration broadens the utility of our third generation antisense platform beyond the stated areas of focus for Idera in cancers and rare diseases,” Clayton Fletcher, Idera svp of business development and strategic initiatives, said in a statement.

Added John Lepore, GSK svp and head of its Metabolic Pathways and Cardiovascular Therapy Area Unit: “Idera’s antisense platform offers a new path to explore whether gene silencing technology can help stop or slow chronic kidney disease.”

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