Cytokinetics Incorporated, has agreed to extend the research term under its strategic alliance with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to continue research activities focused towards the mitotic kinesin centromere-associated protein E (CENP-E).

Cytokinetics and GSK entered into a broad strategic alliance to discover, develop and commercialize novel small molecule therapeutics targeting mitotic kinesins for applications in the treatment of cancer and other diseases. The strategic alliance, initiated in June 2001, included an initial five-year research term and has been extended on two prior occasions, in each case with the objective to conduct joint research directed towards CENP-E. The companies have agreed again to extend the research programme for an additional year, during which each company, at its own expense, will continue to perform translational research directed towards CENP-E in accordance with an agreed plan.

CENP-E is a mitotic kinesin directly involved in coupling the mechanics of mitosis with the mitotic checkpoint signaling machinery, thereby regulating cell proliferation. CENP-E is essential for prometaphase chromosome movements that contribute to proper chromosome alignment. Both these processes are essential to cell proliferation. Preventing cell proliferation by disrupting mitosis is a validated approach to treating patients with cancer.

GSK-923295, a CENP-E inhibitor which arose from joint research between Cytokinetics and GSK under the strategic alliance, is currently in a phase I clinical trial under GSK's sponsorship. The strategic alliance has generated three drug candidates in clinical development, ispinesib and SB-743921, which both target kinesin spindle protein (KSP), and GSK-923295, which targets CENP-E. In June 2006, June 2007 and June 2008, Cytokinetics announced one-year extensions of the research term of this strategic alliance, beyond the original minimum term of five years, to continue activities focused towards translational research directed to CENP-E.