Pipeline Programs

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We have applied our expertise in multivalency to discover product candidates and lead compounds in a number of therapeutic areas.


Our respiratory franchise has three development programs directed toward chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma: our Long-Acting Beta2 Agonist (LABA) in collaboration with GlaxoSmithKIine plc (GSK); our Bifunctional Muscarinic Antagonist-Beta2 Agonist (MABA) program, which GSK has licensed under the terms of our strategic alliance; and our internal Long-Acting Muscarinic Antagonist (LAMA) program.

GSK Partnered Programs


A Long-Acting Beta2 Agonist (LABA) is a medicine that works by relaxing the muscles in the walls of the airways, allowing the airways to expand (known as bronchodilation) and leading to improved lung function in COPD and asthma patients. We are working with GSK to develop a once-daily LABA (vilanterol or VI) combined with a once-a-day inhaled corticosteroid (fluticasone furoate of FF) for the treatment of COPD and asthma.


Among the most frequently used bronchodilators for COPD are the inhaled muscarinic antagonists. These bronchodilators work by inhibiting muscarinic receptors in the bronchial airways, leading to relaxation of airway smooth muscle and improved lung function. We are working with GSK to develop a dual bronchodilator consisting of a LABA (vilanterol) combined with a LAMA (umeclidinium bromide or UMEC) that can be taken as an inhaled medicine once-a-day for the treatment of COPD.

Bifunctional Muscarinic Antagonist-Beta2 Agonist (MABA)

When inhaled into the lungs, both muscarinic antagonists and beta2 agonists cause bronchodilation, but by different mechanisms of action. Moreover, both classes of drugs have non-bronchodilator effects that can be complementary and beneficial in patients with COPD and perhaps in patients with severe asthma. Currently many patients are using both inhaled muscarinic antagonists and inhaled beta2 agonists (either in two separate inhalers or via a product that combines short-acting agents from the two drug classes).

Under our strategic alliance, we and GSK are developing a long-acting inhaled bronchodilator that is bifunctional, meaning it is a single molecule with both muscarinic antagonist and beta2 agonist activities. By combining bifunctional activity and high lung selectivity, we intend to develop a medicine with greater efficacy than single mechanism bronchodilators and with equal or better tolerability. This bifunctional bronchodilator could potentially then serve as a basis for improved combination therapy through co-delivery with an inhaled corticosteroid that could deliver three complementary therapeutic effects in a single product for patients with respiratory disease.

Theravance Program

Inhaled Long-Acting Muscarinic Antagonist (LAMA)

The goal of Theravance's LAMA program for respiratory disease is to develop a once-daily inhaled medicine in a nebulizer that offers improved efficacy and tolerability relative to current therapies, and provides the basis for combination nebulized products with other medicines. To accomplish this we are developing a chemically-stable inhaled LAMA that produces prolonged blockade of the relevant muscarinic receptor sub-types in the lung while also being highly selective for lung tissue over salivary gland tissue.

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