Fighting the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is the prime mover behind the $57 (£36m) million acquisition of Genelabs Technologies by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
GSK`s Zhi Hong said: “Genelabs has demonstrated a strong track record in HCV drug discovery and has identified numerous novel classes of inhibitors that target unprecedented mechanisms in the virus’s life cycle.
“This arrangement will give GSK a broad HCV drug-discovery platform addressing novel targets and innovative therapeutic approaches.”
The acquisition is hailed as continuing GSK’s strategy of pursuing the best science, internally or externally, to bring new medicines to patients and value to the GSK pipeline.
There is an unmet need for new drugs to treat HCV infection. Currently the gold standard therapy comprises pegylated-alpha interferon (IFN) plus ribavirin (RBV) but the efficacy rate of this combination is relatively low and both drugs are associated with significant side effects that often lead to treatment discontinuation.
Several new antiviral drugs targeting multiple virus and host targets are currently in development. Rapidly-emerging drug resistance suggests that combination therapies with multiple classes of drugs will be required to achieve sustained virological response.
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