Amplimmune and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) have announced a broad strategic alliance to further develop PD-1 targeting therapies.

PD-1 targeting therapies have shown promise as a treatment of cancer, among other diseases.

PD-1 regulates T-cell mediated immune responses. High PD-1 levels on T-cells can lead to poor anti-tumour and anti-microbial immunity.

The deal will see GSK will obtain exclusive worldwide rights to PD-1 targeting therapy AMP-224. GSK will pay Amplimmune a non-refundable upfront payment of $23m, with Amplimmune eligible to receive up to $485m in regulatory, development and sales milestone payments including regulatory acceptance of phase 1 trials.

In vivo studies have suggested that AMP224 can induce immune responses to tumours and pathogens sufficient to ameliorate disease.

Amplimmune will be responsible for conducting a Phase I trial in cancer patients, which is expected to begin in 2011. It will also complete GMP manufacturing and GLP toxicology studies to support a human study.

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GSK will be responsible for all other development and manufacturing activities and will have worldwide commercialisation rights.

In addition, the parties may develop next-generation protein fusion candidates that target PD-1.