Glaxo picks neurology for its first defence deal

A high-risk neurology play was probably not what people had in mind when Glaxosmithkline promised more deals whilst defending its strategy last week. But that is what the company delivered today, paying Alector $700m up front for co-development rights to two MAbs in development for a range of neurodegenerative diseases. AL001 and AL101 are said to work by increasing levels of progranulin, a regulator of immune activity in the brain that has genetic links to multiple neurodegenerative disorders. The deal arguably addresses one of the demands made by activist investor Elliot Partners yesterday – that Glaxo should spend more on R&D. The move also gets Glaxo a pair of late-stage assets that, if successful, will help them hit their hugely optimistic sales targets. What they will actually contribute is the question: neurology is a failure-prone area, a fact that prompted Glaxo, like many other big pharma companies, to retreat from the space. Proof of these assets will take some time to arrive. A pivotal trial of AL001 in frontotemporal dementia completes in 2023, according to the date in AL101, which is intended to treat Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s, only recently moved into the clinic. 

Trials of Glaxo's new assets
Project Trial details N Data possible
AL001  Infront-3: Pivotal ph3 in frontotemporal dementia 180 Oct 2023
AL001  Infront-2: Ph2, long-term dosing in frontotemporal dementia 40 Mar 2023
AL001  Ph2 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis  ? Trial to start 2021
AL101 Ph 1, safety and tolerability (NCT04111666) 53 Aug 2021
Source: Evaluate Pharma,

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