GSK spin-out Autifony Therapeutics and Jazz Pharmaceuticals have signed an exclusive $770.5m international licensing agreement for the discovery and development of drug candidates.

The drug candidates will act on two ion channel targets linked to neurological ailments.

The drug discovery and preclinical development works on the agreed targets will be led by Autifony.

Following preclinical development, Jazz will be responsible for clinical development, production, regulatory works and marketing.

Jazz will make upfront, development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments totalling $770.5m to Autifony. 

Autifony is also entitled to receive royalty payments on future net product sales.

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The company is using its scientific capabilities and ion channel drug discovery platform to design small molecule modulators that target ion channel subtypes.

Autifony Therapeutics CEO Dr Charles Large stated: “We are excited to be working with Jazz Pharmaceuticals on two novel ion channel targets, on which we can bring to bear Autifony’s long-standing expertise in small molecule ion channel drug discovery and development. 

“Jazz has an exceptional track record of rapidly advancing neuroscience development programmes and effectively commercialising novel therapies that offer improvements over current standards of care. 

“These programmes have the potential to bring ground-breaking benefits to patients in a range of indications.”

Jazz Pharmaceuticals previously signed a research partnership with the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center to evaluate zanidatamab to treat HER2-expressing cancers.