UK-based Vernalis and French pharmaceutical company Servier have entered a new oncology drug discovery collaboration.
Under the latest two-year agreement, Vernalis' fragment-based and structure-based drug discovery platform will be combined with the oncology expertise at Servier.
Since 2007, the two companies have entered several partnership agreements. The previous collaboration included discovery of products targeting Bcl-2 and Mcl-1 that are currently in clinical development.
Bcl-2 derives its name from B-cell lymphoma 2 and is an anti-apoptotic protein that plays a role in many blood cancers, while Mcl-1 is a myeloid cell leukaemia protein of the Bcl-2 family of proteins.
Vernalis CEO Ian Garland 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."
As part of the new partnership, Vernalis is set to receive an upfront payment of €2m, fees, research milestones and a share in the downstream success of any products as a result of this collaboration.
Vernalis has currently three approved products: Tuzistra XR targeting the US prescription cough-cold market, Moxatag, a once-daily formulation of the antibiotic, amoxicillin, and frovatriptan for the acute treatment of migraine.
Servier is also developing a portfolio of new cancer treatments with partners worldwide.