Serving up with Servier

New alliance with Galapagos to feature targets from both companies

Kelsey Kaustinen
PARIS—French pharmaceutical company Servier and Mechelen,Belgium-based Galapagos NV recently announced the beginning of a multi-yearstrategic alliance between their two companies, focused on the joint discoveryand development of novel small molecule therapies for cancer. Galapagos will beresponsible for the discovery and development of new candidate drugs against acombination of Galapagos and Servier targets in oncology.
 
 
"Galapagos continues to deliver the innovation thatresearch-based pharma companies are seeking to complement their pipelines. Inthis new alliance, Servier and Galapagos combine both their oncology targetsand their capabilities in cancer drug discovery," Onno van de Stolpe, CEO ofGalapagos, said in a press release. "Similar to our osteoarthritis alliancewith Servier, Galapagos retains the U.S. rights, which represents a largepotential, considering the unmet medical need in cancer."
 
 
Per the terms of the agreement, Servier will pay researchaccess payments to Galapagos of $2.77 million. Galapagos also stands to receivediscovery, development, regulatory and other milestone payments that couldtotal $360.48 million, as well as royalties based on commercialization ofproducts by Servier. Servier has the exclusive option to license eachsmall-molecule program after Galapagos completes preclinical development, andif that option is exercised, Servier will assume responsibility for clinicaldevelopment, registration and commercialization. Galapagos retains exclusiverights for clinical development, registration and commercialization within theUnited States, and Servier will commercialize the drugs worldwide.
 
 
This will be the second partnership between Servier andGalapagos. Their first alliance was in osteoarthritis and was established inJuly 2010 with a similar format to their oncology alliance, except that thecompounds in the osteoarthritis alliance come solely from Galapagos. Accordingto Elizabeth Goodwin, director of investor relations for Galapagos, theosteoarthritis alliance "has progressed nicely," and in February of this year,Galapagos announced in a press release that it had reached milestones in thealliance that resulted in payments in 2010 revenue that totaled $5.5 million,bringing the total as of February to $15.25 million in payments from Servier.
 
 
"Based on the progress made already in our osteoarthritiscollaboration with Galapagos, we are convinced of Galapagos' ability to delivernew cancer drugs based on novel targets," Emmanuel Canet, head of research anddevelopment at Servier, said in a press release. "This alliance complements ourvery innovative cancer pipeline and is in line with Servier's commitment todevelop new treatments for sufferers of uncured diseases."
 
 
"Galapagos' novel modes of action found using functionalreadouts in human primary cells, combined with Galapagos' efficient drugdiscovery expertise and Servier's medical expertise, all work together to makethe alliances work very well," says Goodwin.
 
 
Specific cancer types or compounds that the alliance willfocus on were not disclosed, though Pascal Touchon, director of scientificcooperation and business development for Servier, says the two companies have a"clear intent to concentrate on truly unsatisfied medical needs." Thecompanies' experience in their osteoarthritis alliance "has shown us that bothteams are working very well and efficiently together," he adds.
 
"Galapagos is very effective in finding novel targets forvarious diseases, including cancer, and then they have a superb and veryefficient organization to discover and develop drug candidate till the IND,"says Touchon. "In oncology, we will also bring to the partnership our knowledgeof diseases mechanisms, some novel targets coming from Servier state-of-the-artresearch and our knowledge of animal models and translational medicine. Then wewill take care of the clinical development for which we have a clear expertiseand adapted means."
 

 
Servier and Hybrigenics partner on DUBs  
 
PARIS—Servier also announced last month a license andresearch collaboration with Hybrigenics, a French biopharmaceutical company, inthe field of deubiquitinating enzymes (DUBs) applied to oncology, neurology,psychiatry, rheumatology, ophthalmology, diabetes and cardiovascular diseases.
 
 
Hybrigenics will identify and validate new targets amongDUBs in these therapeutic areas. Hybrigenics will also screen potentialtherapeutic agents able to modulate four undisclosed targets, already chosen asexclusive DUBs of interest under the collaboration. Servier will provide thecompounds to be screened, develop the selected compounds and commercialize theapproved drugs. Hybrigenics' activities under this collaboration may also leadto the discovery of companion diagnostics, potentially needed for suchtherapeutic drugs.
 
Hybrigenics will receive $5.5 million over three years toidentify new deubiquitinating enzymes and screen their inhibitors, and isfurther eligible to receive $13 million in success-based milestone payments foreach target successfully leading to registration of a new drug, and toroyalties on sales of companion diagnostic kits.

Kelsey Kaustinen

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