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Vernalis and Servier achieve two milestones in their oncology drug discovery collaboration

10 June 2021 – Vernalis 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, has been announced the discovery of the first generation of Mcl-1 inhibitors which have entered clinical trials (published in Nature, 538: 477ACS 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”

James Murray, Research Director at Vernalis.

“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. They illustrate well the innovative freedom that Servier has kept through its important investment in R&D.”

Olivier Geneste, Head of Apoptosis and Targeted Therapies Research Program in Oncology at Servier commented

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

About Vernalis

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About Vernalis