Axxima filed for insolvency last December, transferring its key assets into a holding company led by the firm's key investors. It is the holding company that GPC has purchased, which means that it will not need to be responsible for Axxima's liabilities unless expressly stated in the acquisition agreement.
Under the terms of the accord, GPC will acquire all of Axxima's patents, patent applications and technical expertise in the field of kinase inhibitors which, GPC believes, complement its own strengths. The company will make milestone payments to the insolvency receiver of Axxima for the entry of three compounds protected by the Axxima patent estate into clinical trials up to a maximum amount of €9m.
Kinases act as regulators of signal cascades that are central to cellular growth, differentiation and proliferation. These enzymes catalyze phosphorylation reactions by transferring a phosphate group from adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to one or more tyrosine, serine or threonine residues in protein substrates.
Kinase pathways play an essential role in signal transduction and the control of metabolism, transcription, apoptosis and differentiation. As a result, the enzymes have been implicated in a number of diseases processes such as cancer, inflammation and diabetes. Over 500 different kinases have been identified, representing approximately 1.7 per cent of all human genes.