Chengdu, China, 10 June 2021 – Vernalis, a fully owned subsidiary of HitGen Inc., and Servier are pleased to announce the achievement of one research and one pre-clinical milestone in their oncology drug discovery collaboration, triggering undisclosed milestone payments to Vernalis.
Vernalis and Servier’s partnership has been running successfully since 2007. The 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, like Mcl-1, were considered as undruggable until recently. Previously, it has been announced the discovery of the first generation of Mcl-1 inhibitors which have entered clinical trials (published in Nature, 538: 477; ACS Omega, 4: 8892; J Med Chem, 63: 13762). The pre-clinical milestone announced today corresponds to a second generation, selective Mcl-1 inhibitor entering pre-clinical development. The research milestone relates to success in early drug discovery against another challenging, promising but undisclosed target.
“These milestones further validate our fragment and structure-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 James Murray, Research Director at Vernalis.
“These research and clinical milestones are the results of highly interactive joint efforts between chemists, biochemists and biologists from both companies and hopefully will lead to new treatments for cancer patients,” Olivier Geneste, Head of Apoptosis and Targeted Therapies Research Program in Oncology at Servier commented. “They illustrate well the innovative freedom that Servier has kept through its important investment in R&D.”
Under the current agreement, Vernalis receives fees for work undertaken as well as research and development milestones and potentially royalties on sales.
Servier is a global pharmaceutical group governed by a Foundation. With a strong international presence in 150 countries and a total revenue of 4.7 billion euros in 2020, Servier employs 22,500 people worldwide. Servier is an independent group that invests over 20% of its brand-name revenue in Research and Development every year. To accelerate therapeutic innovation for the benefit of patients, the Group is committed to open and collaborative innovation with academic partners, pharmaceutical groups, and biotech companies. It also integrates the patient's voice at the heart of its activities, from research to support beyond the pill.
A leader in cardiology, the ambition of the Servier Group is to become a recognized and innovative player in oncology. Its growth is based on a sustained commitment to cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, oncology, and immuno-inflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases. To promote access to healthcare for all, the Servier Group also offers a range of quality generic drugs covering most pathologies. More information: www.servier.com
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