GlaxoSmithKline has linked up with Manchester, UK-based Epistem for a fibrosis research collaboration.

The three-year biomarker deal will focus on identifying key characteristics of diseased fibrotic tissue on which Epistem will apply its RNA-Amp technology "to facilitate building an in-depth understanding of the disease. No financial details have been disclosed.

Epistem says it is now "the preferred partner of choice for a range of pharmaceutical companies providing gene expression biomarker information" to support drug development programmes. Biomarkers is one of three businesses the personalised medicines specialist offers, along with  its contract research services and novel therapies units.

The company has a cancer biomarkers deal in place with Sanofi, signed last year, and a novel therapies pact with Novartis dating back to 2009. It is also involved in a biodefence programme with the US National Institutes of Health and earlier this month signed a sales and marketing agreement for its rapid molecular test for tuberculosis with Indian genomics firm Xcelris.