Vectura licenses dry powder tech to GSK
Under the deal, which earns Vectura £20m (€24m) upfront and potential royalties of £13m a year, GlaxosmithKline (GSK) will use the technologies to improve inhalable formulations of two late-stage drug candidates.
Company CEO Chris Blackwell told the Wall Street Journal that GSK will apply the platforms to a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA) named 573719 and the long-acting beta (LABA) agonist 64244.
Further details were not disclosed although, according to GSK’s February pipeline update, 64244 is the most advanced of the two as it is currently in Phase III assessment as a component of the asthma treatment Relovair.
The deal is the second the UK firms have entered into after GSK’s licensing and subsequent sub-licensing to Pfizer’s PowderMed unit, of Vectura’s transdermal DNA vaccine delivery technology.
The latest agreement is non-exclusive deal that enables Vectura to look for similar partnerships with other drugmakers.
The GSK deal should also help Vectura regain some of the ground it lost earlier this year when Novartis’ generics unit Sandoz handed back US rights to its candidate Asthma drug VR315.
While Sandoz did not give a reason for its decision, which did not include EU development rights it still holds, observers at the time suggested that the Swiss generics firm considered US approval to difficult to achieve.
That GSK should be involved in potentially helping Vectura recover the 24 per cent drop in share price Ventura suffered as a result of Sandoz’ decision is ironic given that VR315 was being touted as a generic rival to the UK major’s patent threatened blockbuster asthma treatment Advair.