Shares in Proximagen were on the rise this morning as investors welcomed news that the group has snapped up two central nervous system drug development programmes from fellow UK drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline.

The company said it has signed an exclusive agreement with GSK for the global rights to the two programmes, the most advanced of which is ready to enter clinical development, substantially boosting its existing portfolio of more than 15 innovative therapeutic projects addressing diseases in the CNS, inflammation and oncology arenas.

The assets have been transferred from GSK following the drug giant’s decision earlier this year to cease its discovery efforts in some neuroscience areas such as psychiatry and pain, and Proximagen believes they have the potential to address patient needs in a variety of conditions including neuropathic pain and Parkinson’s disease.

The more advanced development programme targets the _7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAChR) and has a candidate which is ready to be tested in Phase I after showing positive efficacy in relevant models of disease, while the second targets the dopamine D1 receptor that is implicated in several neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease.

Commenting on the deal, Proximagen’s chief executive Kenneth Mulvany said the firm is “excited by the opportunity of building on the work already undertaken on these programmes and on the substantial investment made by GSK”, and he noted that the agreement “allows these compounds, which were originally generated in the UK, to remain within the UK”.  

The company said it intends to apply its specialist expertise to advance the programmes along the development pathway before “partnering certain territories under a global clinical and commercial development plan”.

Financial details of the deal were not disclosed by the companies.