UK firm GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Anglo-German biotech firm Cellzome have partnered to jointly identify selective small-molecule drug candidates for anti-inflammatory drugs.

The research will be carried out using Cellzome’s Episphere chemical proteomics technology platform against targets from four different epigenetic target classes.

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

The Episphere technology allows the screening and profiling of inhibitors of epigenetic targets in their native environment, directly in the lysate of cells and tissues, and can also differentiate between the complexes these targets operate in.

If all the programmes under the alliance are met, Cellzome could receive €475m ($654m) in milestone payments.