Chroma Therapeutics Extends Collaboration With GlaxoSmithKline and Advances Novel Targeted Agent Towards Clinical Development; Receives Milestone Payment

Published: Jan 03, 2013

Oxford, 3 January 2013 – Chroma Therapeutics Limited announced today that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has approved the progression of Chroma’s novel macrophage-targeted HDAC inhibitor, CHR-5154, towards human clinical development subject to regulatory approval, triggering an undisclosed milestone payment from GSK.

HDAC inhibitors have been demonstrated to have broad anti-inflammatory activity, in addition to their activity in a variety of cancers, and may be useful for the treatment of severe inflammatory disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis. CHR-5154 is an orally-dosed agent utilising Chroma’s proprietary esterase-sensitive motif (ESM) technology, which enables compounds to be targeted to specific cells (macrophages) critically involved in the inflammatory disease process. Chroma has already progressed CHR2845 from its ESM technology platform into human clinical trials.

Separately, Chroma announced that its collaboration with GSK has been extended to enable their Epinova Discovery Performance Unit to apply Chroma’s ESM technology to a novel GSK epigenetic target. Chroma will receive an up-front cash payment and is eligible to receive milestones and royalties based on compounds arising from this element of the collaboration.

Richard Bungay, CEO of Chroma, commented “We are delighted to be able to achieve this key milestone and progress this highly innovative agent towards clinical development. We will assess its potential to address significant unmet needs in patients with severe inflammatory disorders. Further, the extension of our collaboration with GSK highlights the potential of the ESM platform to deliver a pipeline of differentiated therapeutic agents addressing a range of novel disease targets.”


Chroma Therapeutics Limited

Richard Bungay

Chief Executive Officer

+44 (0)1235 829120


Jon Coles

+44 (0)20 7404 5959

Justine McIlroy

About ESM

Chroma has developed its "Esterase Sensitive Motif" (ESM) technology which attaches specific chemical (amino acid ester) motifs onto active drugs to enhance the delivery of the drugs to targets within cells. The result is a drug-motif that is freely transported into the cell but, following cleavage within the cell by intracellular esterases, generates an active charged species that cannot cross the cell membrane easily. Over time, the active species will accumulate within the cells, resulting in increased potency and duration of action.

Chroma has developed a subset of these chemical motifs that are cleaved only within monocytes and macrophages. This approach consequently has potential in the treatment of a wide range of diseases by delivering a drug selectively to these cell types, which are implicated in a variety of serious diseases including inflammatory disorders, cancer, atherosclerosis and diabetes.

About Chroma Therapeutics

Chroma Therapeutics, based in Oxford (UK), is a drug development company focused in the fields of oncology and inflammatory disorders. Chroma is building a broad pipeline of first- or best-in-class treatments utilising its expertise in chromatin biology and its novel intracellular accumulation technologies, which include the ability to selectively target drugs to macrophages. Chroma is backed by a number of leading specialist investors, including Abingworth, Essex Woodlands, Gilde, Phase4 and The Wellcome Trust. More information about Chroma can be found at

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