GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Isis Pharmaceuticals have announced a new strategic alliance for Isis to use GSK’s antisense drug discovery platform to develop new therapeutics against targets for rare and serious diseases.

Isis will receive an upfront $35m payment from GSK, which covers up to six programmes, and is eligible to receive up to $20m in milestones per programme up to Phase II proof-of-concept (PoC).

GSK will have the option to license compounds at PoC, and will be responsible for all further development and commercialisation.

Isis will also be eligible to receive licence fees and milestone payments, totaling nearly $1.5m, in the event that all six programmes are successfully developed, as well as double-digit royalties on successful commercialisation.

Antisense therapies target the proteins involved in disease processes through the RNA involved in building these proteins. The Isis discovery platform develops specific therapies that bind to messenger RNA and inhibit the production of disease-causing proteins.