Glaxo snags Alzheimer's vax rights in €452.5M deal

GlaxoSmithKline has put down 22.5 million and promised up to 430 million more to license the rights to two early-stage Alzheimer's disease vaccines from Austria's AFFiRiS. Glaxo picks up exclusive rights to two vaccines in Phase I testing and an option on preclinical candidates.

The deal is an endorsement of AFFiRiS' technology. The biotech boasts of being able to design proteins that have very specific binding abilities, a key feature for anyone creating a vaccine that can attack the beta-amyloid associated with Alzheimer's.

The deal is heavily weighted to the back end of the development process, with the biggest payoff coming as researchers have a chance to pour through clinical trial data. Alzheimer's therapies offer a potential source of enormous wealth for drug companies, but have also proved to be extraordinarily risky as scientists try to under stand the causes and potential cures for the disease. For Glaxo, the deal also underscores its intention to get deeper and deeper into the biotech sphere of drug development.

"We are impressed with the AFFiRiS technology--combined with our expertise in innovative adjuvant systems--this collaboration will improve our chance of success in the discovery of new treatments against this major disease," said Jean Stephenne (photo), president and general manager of GlaxoSmithKline Biologicals.

- check out the GlaxoSmithKline release