GlaxoSmithKline has exercised an option to license an antibody, originated by Human Genome Sciences, with potential in the treatment of a range of solid and haematological cancers.

GSK has acquired co-development and co-promotion rights to HGS-ETR1 (mapatumumab), a human monoclonal antibody developed by HGS with the help of Cambridge Antibody Technology. The drug causes programmed cell death (apoptosis) in cancer cells expressing a protein called TRAIL receptor 1.

HGS-ETR1 is already in Phase II trials in non-small cell lung cancer, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and colorectal cancer. Over the last couple of months, HGS has reported encouraging initial safety data and early signs of clinical activity in both NSCLC and NHL, with results in colorectal cancer expected in November.

The license is the latest in a series of product collaborations between GSK and HGS under the terms of a 1996 agreement signed by the two companies. In July, the two companies entered into a similar deal for Lymphostat-B (belimumab), an antibody in Phase II trials for systemic lupus erythematosus and rheumatoid arthritis [[08/07/05c]].