Epizyme, a pharmaceutical company focused personalized therapeutics for cancer, received a $4 million milestone payments from collaborator GlaxoSmithKline based on the achievement of pre-clinical milestones.
In 2011, Epizyme and GSK formed a worldwide strategic alliance to discover, develop and market novel small molecule therapeutics targeting histone methyltransferases (HMTs), an important class of epigenetic enzymes, for the treatment of cancer and other diseases. This most recent milestone payment follows another $4 million in milestone payments from GSK to Epizyme in October 2011, bringing the total milestone payments to Epizyme to $8 million to date.
"Collaborations with companies such as GSK are an integral part of our strategy to build a new leading biopharm company that commercializes products in the United States," said Jason Rhodes, executive vice president and chief business officer. "Since January 2011, we have entered into benchmark alliances with GSK, Eisai and Celgene that together have brought in $140 million in cash, with future committed research funding and expected milestones. Importantly, Epizyme retains significant U.S. rights to our lead DOT1L and EZH2 programs, which are partnered with Celgene and Eisai, respectively, in addition to our pipeline of unpartnered programs."
The GSK alliance leverages Epizyme's product platform—including its proprietary biology, biochemistry, medicinal chemical and intellectual property—to discover and develop HMT therapeutics against the defined set of targets included in the collaboration. Epizyme received an upfront payment of $20 million and also receives committed research funding. Epizyme is eligible to receive more than $630 million in total milestone payments if medicines are commercialized for all targets in the collaboration. Additionally, Epizyme is eligible to receive up to double-digit royalties on worldwide net sales of collaboration products. For each collaboration target, Epizyme is primarily responsible for research up to development candidate selection, and GSK will be solely responsible for development and commercialization.