GSK To Acquire Sitari Pharmaceuticals From Early-Stage Life-Sciences Venture Pact

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has agreed to acquire Sitari Pharmaceuticals, a company developing treatments for celiac disease, from Avalon Ventures, a venture-capital firm. Sitari was the first company formed under a GSK–Avalon venture collaboration, created in 2013, under which the companies agreed to fund and launch up to 10 early-stage life science companies in San Diego. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Sitari was incubated at COI Pharmaceuticals, the Community of Innovation (COI) established by Avalon Ventures. COI Pharmaceuticals is a life-science incubator entity established in 2013 to support a portfolio of companies that included those funded through the collaboration between Avalon Ventures and GSK. COI provides the intellectual capital to launch companies, a fully equipped R&D infrastructure, and industry mentors prepared to leverage their expertise to help entrepreneurial scientists succeed. COI is located in La Jolla, California.

Under the agreement, GSK will acquire Sitari and all of its intellectual property. Sitari is developing a new treatment for celiac disease, a transglutaminase 2 (TG2) inhibitor. The enzymatic activity of transglutaminase 2 (TG2) is said to be responsible for triggering the inflammatory cascade in response to gluten exposure in patients with celiac disease. Avalon says Sitari’s TG2 inhibitors have the potential to suppress the autoimmune response that results in intestinal inflammation and cell pathogenesis in celiac patients.

In April 2013, Avalon Ventures and GSK entered into a collaboration to fund and launch up to 10 early-stage life science companies in San Diego, California. Under the agreement, Avalon is providing funding of up to $30 million and GSK is providing company seed funding, research and development support, and success-based preclinical and clinical milestones up to a total of $465 million for 10 companies. GSK was given the option to acquire each company upon the generation of a clinical candidate.

Source : Avalon Ventures

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