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GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has acquired San Diego-based Sitari Pharmaceuticals. The first company formed under the GSK-Avalon venture collaboration in 2013. Sitari was incubated at COI Pharmaceuticals, the Community of Innovation established by Avalon Ventures.

The agreement will allow GSK to obtain Sitari’s novel transglutaminase 2 (TG2) small molecule preclinical program for treating celiac disease, which affects some three million people in the United States. The drug blocks the TG2 enzyme, which is thought to trigger an inflammatory response to gluten and resulting intestinal damage. There are currently no FDA-approved treatments for celiac disease. 

“They recognized that, and saw a strategic fit, so they were ready to bring it out,” said Jay Lichter, Sitari’s CEO, president and CEO of COI, and managing director of Avalon Ventures, in an interview with The San Diego Union-Tribune.

COI Pharmaceuticals press release

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