GlaxoSmithKline’s recently established rare disease business unit will identify some 200 rare diseases that it plans to combat.

Among the first in the agreement disclosed Monday to work with Fondazione Telethon of Italy to

“We will target those diseases where we realistically believe we can make a significant contribution; ideally we will be creating new medicines, but importantly by adding to the weight of scientific knowledge into rare diseases to the benefit of all working in this area,” said Marc Dunoyer, the executive leading GSK Rare Diseases.

“GSK has a well established history of successfully researching and developing orphan drugs to treat rare diseases,” he added. “For companies like GSK to continue to make significant progress in developing new treatments to address rare diseases it requires unique skills, commitment and most importantly a deep understanding of the conditions.”

Dunoyer said GSK will have to be selective in its approach, noting there are between 6,000 and 8,000 rare diseases.

“Selecting the diseases to target won’t be easy and we will need to make difficult choices; we have adopted a systematic approach, which we believe will be critical to helping us make the right decision,” he explained. “Our aim is to have a list of around 200 priority diseases that the unit will target – this list will change over time as our scientific knowledge and understanding changes.”

For more details,

GSK maintains its U.S. headquarters in the Triangle.

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