GSK Invests $95 Million in Gene Control Research

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GSK announces it will invest $95 million to launch a US-based non-profit research institute, Altius, to research technologies and approaches in understanding gene control.


On June 16, 2015, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) announced it would invest $95 million to launch an independent, non-profit in Seattle, WA. The new company, Altius Institute for Biomedical Sciences, will research and develop new technologies and approaches “for decoding how genes are controlled and how a cell’s ‘operating system’ functions in health and disease,” according to a press release.

Lead by John A. Stamatoyannopoulos, MD, leader in gene regulation and professor of genome sciences and medicine at the University of Washington School of Medicine, the group will be independent from GSK, operating with its own management, board of directors, and external advisors. Per the agreement, GSK and Altius have entered a 10-year, $95 million collaboration in which GSK will provide cash and resources to Altius during the first five years to further the Institute’s research. There is the potential for additional funding from GSK to apply discoveries from Altius to a range of projects identified by GSK. The agreement also allows GSK to “retain first rights to option the Institute’s inventions, and to invest in commercialization of the discoveries via spinout companies,” according to a press release. The collaboration is intended to enable rapid translation of genetics research technology to the drug-discovery process. The ability to understand and control cell’s genes may increase the probability that a drug will succeed in targeting the right disease once in late-stage development.


“Dramatic breakthroughs in understanding how the human genome functions are still in their infancy in terms of how they can be applied to drug discovery, but we can see their potential to transform the process. This is not an incremental change. We are aiming for transformative outcomes that could improve our ability to bring innovative and more effective new medicines to patients,” said Lon Cardon, senior vice-president of Alternative Discovery and Development at GSK, in the press release.

Source: GSK