GlaxoSmithKline will acquire San Diego-based Sitari Pharmaceuticals and its transglutaminase 2 small molecule program for celiac disease.
Sitari, a preclinical-stage biotech, is developing inhibitors of the TG2 enzyme as treatments for the autoimmune digestive disorder celiac disease.
Sitari, which was incubated at COI Pharmaceuticals, the Community of Innovation established by Avalon Ventures, was the first company formed under the GSK-Avalon venture collaboration in 2013. Now, GSK is bringing the ready-for-the-clinic asset into its fold to complement its autoimmune R&D focus.
The acquisition of Sitari moves GSK into competition with these companies and other biotechs that are coming at celiac disease from different angles. More broadly, the acquisition represents a win for the model GSK and Avalon established, even if it looks set to be the only biotech the Big Pharma buys through the collaboration.