Vernalis tucks into some rich French dressing

vernalis, kidney cancer, cambridge

Vernalis plc and Servier have entered into a new drug discovery collaboration that builds on their existing partnership. The companies have agreed a fresh, two-year oncology drug discovery collaboration on an undisclosed target.

This agreement extends the existing successful collaborations between Servier and Vernalis since 2007 to combine Vernalis’ proprietary fragment- and structure-based drug discovery platform with the oncology expertise at Servier. Previous successes include discovery of products targeting Bcl-2 and Mcl-1 currently in clinical development.

Vernalis will receive a €2 million upfront payment, fees, research milestones and a share in the downstream success of any products coming out of this new collaboration.

Vernalis CEO, Ian Garland (pictured), said: “This new collaboration further validates our fragment-based drug discovery platform and the strength and success of our relationship with Servier. We look forward to working together to develop exciting new cancer treatment opportunities to add to the already disclosed success in targeting Bcl-2 and Mcl-1.

Olivier Geneste, director of oncology research at Servier added: “The original structure of Servier, governed by a non-profit foundation, allows us to enter long-term collaborations with world-class partners like Vernalis, and use our expertise to bring innovative therapies to patients.”

Vernalis is a commercial stage pharmaceutical company with significant expertise in drug development. It is headquartered in Berkshire, UK and has  research operations at Granta Park, Cambridge. The company’s US commercial operations are in Pennsylvania.

The Group has three approved products: 

  • Tuzistra® XR targeting the US prescription cough-cold market
  • Moxatag®, a once-daily formulation of the antibiotic, amoxicillin, indicated for the treatment of tonsillitis and/or pharyngitis secondary to Streptococcus pyogenes in adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older
  • Frovatriptan for the acute treatment of migraine. 

It has an exclusive licensing agreement to develop and commercialise multiple novel products focused on the US prescription cough-cold market as well as eight programmes in its NCE development pipeline. 

Servier is an international pharmaceutical company governed by a non- profit foundation with its headquarters in Suresnes, France. In 2016 the company recorded a €4 billion turnover and has a presence in 148 countries,  employing 21,000 people globally.

Servier has its eye on becoming a key player in oncology, and has nine new molecular entities in clinical development in this area, targeting breast and lung cancers and other solid tumors, as well as various leukemias and lymphomas. Its portfolio of cancer treatments is being developed with partners worldwide, and covers different cancer hallmarks, including cytotoxics, proapoptotics, targeted, immune and cellular therapies.

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