German company Boehringer Ingelheim and Denmark-based biotech company Saniona have partnered to discover and develop new compounds for the treatment of schizophrenia.

After signing the agreement, Saniona will receive up to €90m including an upfront payment of €5m, in addition to royalties on global net sales of any resulting products under the partnership.

As part of the collaboration, Boehringer and Saniona will carry out joint research activities identify compounds that can restore brain network activity in patients with this mental disorder.

The neuronal activity in the brain of patients with schizophrenia can be impaired by a functional imbalance between stimulating and inhibitory transmission of signals between neurons.

"By working together and blending our joint expertise and capabilities, we have the potential to advance new treatment options for schizophrenia."

The latest programme aligns with Boehringer's drug discovery strategy for neuropsychiatric diseases, which focuses on investigating dominant symptom domains and the underlying neurobiology across various mental disorders such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease, as well as depression.

Boehringer Ingelheim discovery research senior corporate vice-president Clive Wood said: "We are very pleased to be working with Saniona's experienced scientific and management team and to build on their ion channel drug discovery platform.

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“By working together and blending our joint expertise and capabilities, we have the potential to advance new treatment options for schizophrenia."

Saniona will also receive payments of up to €50m after achieving certain research, development and regulatory milestones.

Furthermore, the company is entitled to up to €35m and tiered royalties on net sales of any potential products commercialised by Boehringer as a result of the collaboration.

Saniona grants exclusive worldwide rights to Boehringer to carry out research and also develop, manufacture and commercialise medicines identified through the collaboration.