BARDA pledges GSK up to $94.5M to develop biothreat antibiotic

GlaxoSmithKline, GSK

GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:GSK) has been awarded a federal contract that could be worth nearly $95 million if the pharma giant can develop a new antibiotic to combat biothreats such as bubonic plague and anthrax.

GSK said it will initially receive $38.5 million from the Biomedical Advanced Research and Development Authority (BARDA) over two years, which will be directed to R&D of experimental antibiotic GSK2251052. If BARDA exercises options for future funding, additional financing could bring the total award to as much as $94.5 million.

“We welcome this agreement with BARDA, which will support the development of GSK2251052 and important research into medical countermeasures for bioterrorism,” David Payne, head of antibacterial drug discovery at GSK said in a statement. “Such innovative public-private collaborations provide an additional stimulus for anti-bacterial research and development.”


U.K.-based GSK, which has its U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina, said that the BARDA funding will contribute to existing GSK studies as well as new research into biothreat pathogens. GSK2251052, usually abbreviated to GSK ‘052, is a boron-based antibacterial from Anacor Pharmaceuticals‘ (NASDAQ:ANAC) boron chemistry platform. GSK entered an R&D collaboration with Anacor in 2007. GSK ‘052 was the first compound emerging from the collaboration that GSK licensed, which triggered a $15 million payment to Anacor. Anacor stands to gain additional development and commercial milestones in the hundreds of millions of dollars as well as royalties if GSK is able to deliver to successfully commercialize a novel antibiotic.

Earlier today, GSK and Anacor announced amendments to their R&D agreement that expand GSK’s rights to an anti-infective and add Anacor’s malaria and tuberculosis drug programs to the deal.

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