Five Prime Therapeutics and GlaxoSmithKline have formed a strategic drug discovery alliance to explore biologic options for the treatment of skeletal muscle disorders.

The collaboration gives GSK exclusive access to Five Prime’s drug discovery platforms specifically tailored to the areas of sarcopenia, cachexia and other skeletal muscle disorders.

GSK will receive access to Five Prime’s comprehensive proprietary collection of secreted proteins and transmembrane receptor proteins, with options to license.

Five Prime will conduct high-throughput in vitro and in vivo assays customised to identify potential drug targets and GSK will take on sole responsibility for additional preclinical studies, clinical development, manufacturing and worldwide commercialisation of any licensed products from the partnership.

The deal nets Five Prime around $15m from an upfront fee in addition to the purchase of FivePrime equity by GSK, and payments related to the research programme.

In addition, Five Prime is eligible for additional research programme payments in 2011-13, and up to $124m in potential option exercise fees and milestone payments, as well as tiered royalties on global net sales.