GlaxoSmithKline is taking full control of a cancer drug discovery collaboration from Astex Pharmaceuticals.

The latter company is terminating the pact following a review of its pipeline as part of the recent merger between SuperGen of the USA and the UK's Astex Therapeutics. SuperGen signed the original deal with GSK in November 2009, a multi-year collaboration to discover cancer therapeutics based on epigenetic targets.

Under the terms of the previous agreement, GSK bought $3 million of SuperGen shares and made a $2 million upfront fee. SuperGen was eligible for  milestone payments of over $375 million, plus royalties.

Astex will transfer research work and assets generated under the deal to GSK, and could still receive milestones and royalties. Also, a separate  collaboration, entered into by Astex and GSK in November 2009 using the former's Pyramid fragment chemistry platform to identify drugs against multiple therapeutic targets, will continue.