Servier and Vernalis announce three milestones in their oncology drug discovery collaboration

Two research milestones and one clinical milestone reached, triggering a total payment of €2 million to Vernalis

Vernalis and Servier’s partnership has been successfully running for 10 years.

Their collaboration takes advantage of Vernalis’ proprietary fragment and structure-based drug discovery platform, and of Servier’s expertise in medicinal chemistry, cancer biology and pharmacology to bring innovation in oncology one step further.

The collaboration focuses on complicated molecular targets, some of which, such as Mcl1, were considered to be undruggable until recently.

The clinical milestone announced today corresponds to the first treatment of the first patient in a Servier sponsored trial with a selective Mcl1 inhibitor identified through the oncology drug discovery collaboration between Servier and Vernalis.

The discovery and characterisation of this family of Mcl1 inhibitors were recently published in Nature. The worldwide clinical development of this promising drug candidate is being undertaken by Servier in collaboration with Novartis.

The two research milestones relate to success in early drug discovery against Mcl1 and a challenging, promising but undisclosed target.

“These research and clinical milestones are the result of highly interactive joint efforts between chemists, biochemists and biologists from both companies and hopefully will lead to new treatments for cancer patients,” said Olivier Geneste, Head of Research in Oncology at Servier. “They illustrate well the innovative freedom that Servier has kept through its important investment in R&D.”

“These milestones further validate our fragment-based drug discovery platform as well as 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”, commented Ian Garland, CEO of Vernalis.

Under the current agreement, Vernalis receives fees for work undertaken as well as research and development milestones and potentially royalties on sales.

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