GREENFORD, UK—Glaxo Group Limited (GSK) will take a £1,250,000 (about $2 million) equity stake in Autifony Therapeutics Ltd., a new British biotech company spun off from GSK.

Under the agreement, announced on August 22, the British subsidiary of the global pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline, will own 25.4% of Autifony. In exchange, the Glaxo Group will hand over voltage-gated ion channel modulator compounds and associated patent applications that have shown promise in the treatment of hearing loss and tinnitus. Imperial Innovations and SV Life Sciences have also taken major positions in Autifony.

Charles Large, Glaxo’s director of molecular and cellular biology, will be chief scientific officer of Autifony. In an interview with John Carroll, editor-in-chief of Fierce Biotech, Large said, “There are currently no pharmacological treatments available for hearing loss or tinnitus despite the increasingly large number of patients, both old and young, that suffer from these conditions. Autifony represents an important opportunity to bring together our drug-discovery experience with the expertise of academic groups in this field, in particular the Ear Institute.”