- In a deal worth up to £175 million ($230 million), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in-licensed a drug candidate treating severe asthma from Janssen, the company announced Wednesday.
- After Janssen finishes up current phase 1 testing, GSK will assume responsibility for all development, manufacturing and commercialization activities.
- If approved, the drug candidate will be the first anti-IL-33 monoclonal antibody to treat asthma, and will join Advair and Nucala as part of GSK's growing respiratory portfolio. While Advair recently lost its patent, Nucala was approved in November 2015.
“While current options for the treatment of mild to moderate asthma enable patients to achieve good control of their symptoms, there remains significant unmet need in severe patients," said GSK's Head of Respiratory R&D, David Allen. "The IL-33 receptor antibody joins our diverse respiratory R&D portfolio of targeted biological therapies and offers the potential to block a fundamental driver of the disease.
GSK's respiratory drugs earned roughly £1.6 billion in global sales last quarter, largely helped by the company's blockbuster respiratory drug Advair. However, patent expiries have forced the drug's sales into a steady decline, and the company is now looking towards its new drugs to fuel the portfolio's growth.
Last quarter, the combined sales of Relvar, Anoro, Incruse and Nucala drove the portfolio to a year-over-year growth rate of 8% despite Advair's declining revenues.
But GSK also wants to fill in the gaps so that more patients can find a treatment regimen that provides control of their symptoms.
Enter CNTO 7160, which brings with it a different target than other moderate-to-severe asthma drugs, which target interleukin-5 (IL-5). Preclinical and proof-of-principle studies have demonstrated a significant connection between airway inflammation and activation of severe allergic and asthmatic events.
Each year about 250,000 people worldwide and 4,000 U.S. people die prematurely from asthma-related causes. In the U.S. alone, roughly 60% of all asthma patients suffer form immune-mediated eosinophilic disease.