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12:00 AM
Oct 19, 2009
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

GSK Adopts an Orphan

Last week's deal between GlaxoSmithKline plc and Prosensa B.V. focusing on RNA-modulating therapeutics in Duchenne muscular dystrophy is not a signal that GSK intends to move headlong into the Orphan drug space. Rather, the pharma is accessing what it sees as a potentially productive platform technology, while the Orphan diseases focus is an interesting by-product that fits GSK's mantra on unmet needs.

GSK CEO Andrew Witty is on record as stressing the need to focus on delivering "more products of value," while recognizing that up to half of the company's future pipeline is likely to derive from external alliances.

"Andrew Witty has talked about diversifying the company into other disease areas and this deal clearly fits that strategy," said Shelagh Wilson, SVP and head of the European arm of GSK's Center of Excellence for External Drug Discovery (CEEDD). "When we discussed the potential transaction with Prosensa internally, we got a lot of support from management, as it covers a huge unmet medical need which also happens to be an Orphan indication."

CEEDD's role is to prospect for platform technologies and therapeutic candidates new to the company. In this case, it was attracted to the potential of...

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