Servier, GeNeuro Form Potenial $455 Million Drug Development PactBy
Servier, a French pharmaceutical company, and GeNeuro SA, a pharmaceutical company developing therapies for neurology and autoimmune disorders, have formed a strategic partnership to develop and market GNbAC1, a drug to treat multiple sclerosis (MS) in Phase IIa development.
Under the agreement, GeNeuro will be responsible for the development of GNbAC1 until completion of Phase IIb clinical trials, after which Servier can exercise the option to license the product for all markets, excluding the US and Japan. Financial considerations include the payment by Servier to GeNeuro of $47 million to finance the completion of Phase IIb clinical trials. Subsequent to exercising the option agreement, Servier will cover the costs of the Phase III global development program and pay GeNeuro up to $408 million in future development and sales milestones, as well as royalties on future sales. Servier will also have the option to take an equity stake in GeNeuro as a minority shareholder in the next 12 months.
GNbAC1, a humanized monoclonal antibody, targets MSRV-Env, the envelope protein of MS associated retrovirus, a member of the HERV-W family, the expression of which is usually silent but reactivated and expressed in MS lesions from an early stage in the disease. This protein has been shown to be both pro-inflammatory and an inhibitor of remyelination, the two major drivers of MS pathophysiology.
GeNeuro was created in 2006 at Eclosion, the Geneva life-sciences accelerator, as a spin-off of the Institut MÃ©rieux, where the technology was originally discovered. The company develops therapies against diseases associated with the expression of pathogenic proteins of human endogenous retroviral origin (HERV). Its lead product is GNbAC1.