GlaxoSmithKline has entered into a collaboration with Medicir and is acquiring rights to the Swedish firm’s cold sore cream Xerclear for non-prescription use.

Xerclear (acyclovir/hydrocortisone) is the first and only topical herpes labialis treatment clinically proven to help prevent cold sore lesions appearing, the firms said. The combo was granted marketing approval in 14 European countries in October 2009 and based on strong clinical data, Xerclear was given “a unique label, which differentiates it from other topical cold sore products currently on the market,” GSK says.

The treatment, previously known as Lipsovir, will be distributed as part of GSK’s over-the-counter Zovirax (acyclovir) franchise in multiple markets, including Europe, Russia, Japan, India, Australia and New Zealand but not North and South America, China, South Korea and Israel. The drugs giant will pay up to 3 million euros in upfront and pre-launch milestones and up to double-digit royalties.

John Clarke, president of the Consumer Healthcare unit at GSK, said the alliance demonstrates the firm’s commitment to “invest in and expand our OTC business”. He added that “it will help strengthen our dermatology portfolio across multiple territories including several key emerging markets”.

Prosensa deal expanded
Meantime, the Dutch firm Prosensa says it has expanded its alliance with GSK looking at RNA-based treatments for Duchenne muscular dystrophy and is initiating two additional programmes aimed at developing four compounds which target different subpopulations of patients suffering from DMD.

To access these new programmes, GSK has made two payments to Prosensa which becomes eligible for further pre-option milestone fees “based on research progress”. The companies linked up last year in an agreement that could be worth £428 million to the Leiden-based firm.