WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – A change in focus on drug development at GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) has triggered the “termination” of a deal between Targacept (Nasdaq: TLCR) and the drug giant.

Targacept disclosed “the termination of its strategic alliance agreement” with GSK as of May. The companies have worked together since July 2007 on drugs targeting neuronal nicotinic receptors – Targacept’s specialty – in pain, smoking cessation, addiction, obesity and Parkinson’s disease.

GSK had already paid Targacept $30 million plus invested $15 million in the company.

Targacept noted that GSK made changes in its drug development program in February 2010. Programs under development revert to Targacept’s control.

“Our alliance with GlaxoSmithKline provided us with substantial funding at a key time in Targacept’s evolution, helping us stay at the forefront of NNR research and grow our pipeline of novel product candidates with diverse NNR pharmacologies,” said J. Donald deBethizy, Targacept’s chief executive officer, in a statement.

“With more learning comes more opportunity, and the number of potential therapeutic applications for NNR Therapeutics continues to grow,” he added. “While we are disappointed that we will be no longer working with our colleagues at GlaxoSmithKline, we are energized to have increased flexibility to apply our resources where emerging science dictates. Our programs in Parkinson’s disease and related disorders and in smoking cessation remain of great interest to us, and we look forward to continued progress in these areas of high unmet medical needs.”

GSK operates its US headquarters in RTP.

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