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GLAXO BACKING GILEAD OLIGONUCLEOTIDE ANALOG R&D VENTURE

Executive Summary

GLAXO BACKING GILEAD OLIGONUCLEOTIDE ANALOG R&D VENTURE with$20 mil. over a period of up to five years. Announced July 26, the anticancer R&D collaborative agreement gives Glaxo an equity position in the privately-held Gilead Sciences of approximately 10%. The agreement focuses on anti-cancer applications of genetic targeting. Foster City, Calif.-based Gilead says the first part of the project will center on the creation of oligonucleotide analogs. Genetic targeting is an enabling technology that allows the identification of harmful genes. Once identified, rational drug design offers a potential tool for creating blockers to those harmful genes. Oligonucleotide analogs, "small DNA-like molecules," are one of the synthetic "antisense" substances that can be made to bind to a specific DNA or RNA sequence. The actual research collaboration will involve Gilead scientists in California and researchers at Glaxo Group Research headquarters in Greenford, U.K. While citing the "immense potential" of genetic targeting, Glaxo pointed out that it would take "several years before we know whether genetic targeting will lead to safe and effective medicines." Officials from Glaxo and Gilead said that the agreement was the first of its kind for both companies. Gilead was founded in August 1987; the company's President and CEO is Michael Riordan. The company has raised more than $12 mil. from venture capitalists to date, excluding the Glaxo investment. In addition to the new Glaxo agreement, Gilead has scientific collaborations with Stanford University, the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center and the University of California at Berkeley.

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