GlaxoSmithKline and Actelion have entered into an exclusive agreement to promote Actelion’s almorexant—an orexin receptor antagonist for treatment of primary insomnia. The drug is in phase III development, and the agreement is intended to “realize the full potential” of the product.

“GSK and Actelion both share the vision—based on our individual research efforts—that orexin receptor antagonists have tremendous potential. By targeting orexin, which is known to help regulate the sleep-wake cycle, these novel molecules could help to reduce or even eliminate some of the side effects associated with current sleep treatments,” says Moncef Slaoui, MD, chairman of research and development of GlaxoSmithKline.

Under the agreement, GlaxoSmithKline will receive exclusive worldwide rights to co-develop and co-commercialize the drug. Actelion will lead the continuing development program and registration of the drug, while GlaxoSmithKline will foot 40% of the cost of that development and registration.

“Almorexant has the potential to fundamentally change the treatment of sleep disorders. GSK, with its strong track record of successful worldwide commercialization, is the ideal partner to work with Actelion to rapidly bring this novel medicine—with the potential to restore normal physiological sleep—to insomnia patients all around the globe,” says Jean-Paul Clozel, MD, CEO of Actelion.