GlaxoSmithKline is paying Sirna Therapeutics $12 million up front as part of a joint effort to develop therapeutics to treat respiratory diseases.
The drugs would be based on RNA interference (RNAi) technology.
Sirna, which is based in San Francisco, recently received a patent for RNAi technology.
The upfront payment included cash and purchase of Sirna stock.
Under terms of the deal, Sirna could receive more than $700 million in milestone payments as well as royalties.
“By combining GSK’s pulmonary drug delivery expertise with Sirna’s advanced application of RNAi technology, this alliance will expedite the development of novel therapeutics with potential use in a number of respiratory diseases such as asthma and (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease),” said Garth Rapeport, a senior vice president at GSK. “We recognise Sirna’s leadership in the area of RNAi-based therapeutics and hope for the potential benefits this research will bring to patients.”