Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline plc (LSE: GSK) has signed a joint drug development agreement with BioRap Technologies Ltd., the technology transfer company of the Rappaport Family Institute for Research in the Biomedical Sciences at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa. GSK and BioRap will commercialize the Israeli company's molecule for the treatment of immune-system related diseases.
In the first phase, GSK and BioRap will develop two product groups for the treatment of Graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD), a potentially lethal side-effect of bone marrow transplants. This is the same disease on which other Israeli companies Gamida Cell and Select Bio focus their activities. In the subsequent phase the product will be adapted to other diseases such as Crohn's and IBD.
Details about the agreement have not been disclosed. However, it is believed to be similar to other agreements signed between pharmaceutical companies and research institutes for products in this phase (after proof of viability in animals), and which have yielded tens of millions and even hundreds of millions of dollars for research institutes.
While many global pharmaceutical giants have ongoing relations with Israeli academia for the development of treatments and medical products, BioRap reports that this is the first such commercial agreement in the country for GSK. In the past GSK has had agreements with Proteologics Ltd. (TASE: PRTL) and NasVax Ltd. (TASE: NSVX) to jointly develop products but they did not result on a drug that reached the market.
The product in the agreement between BioRap and GSK was developed by Prof. Nathan Karin together with his team of Dr. Yiftah Barsheshet and Dr. Gizi Wildbaum.
UK-Israeli High-Tech Hub biomed manager (a UK Embassy in Tel Aviv program) Dr. Iris Geffen Gloor said, "GSK's cooperation program Discovery Partnerships with Academia (DPAc) is searching the world for promising researchers and organizations and connect to them for research and discovery of new drugs."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on February 17, 2014
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