Cellzome has formed a second strategic alliance with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), which will see GSK gain exclusive access to Cellzome’s proprietary Episphere technology.

The Episphere technology is a new development in the emerging field of epigenetics as applied to immunoinflammatory disease.

Epigenetic mechanisms play a key role in controlling immune cell differentiation and inflammatory gene expression during an excessive inflammatory response.

Under the terms of the agreement, the companies will work together using Cellzome’s Episphere technology platform, to identify selective small-molecule drug candidates against targets from four different epigenetic target classes.

The companies will also share operational responsibility for the programmes until identification of drug candidates, at which stage GSK will assume responsibility for any further preclinical and clinical development and commercialisation.

Cellzome will receive an upfront payment of €33m, comprising technology access fees and the purchase of equity. In addition, Cellzome is eligible for milestone payments and tiered royalties for each programme.

Milestone payments under this collaboration could reach over €475m if all programmes under the alliance are successfully developed and commercialised.