GeNeuro and Servier Sign $450M Agreement to Develop Multiple Sclerosis Treatment02.12.2014 13:30
GeNeuro SA, a pioneer of new therapies for neurology and autoimmune disorders, announced today that it has entered into a strategic partnership with Servier, the leading independent French pharmaceutical company, to develop and market GNbAC1 in Multiple Sclerosis (MS). As the first drug addressing a causal factor of the disease, GNbAC1 has the potential to radically change the way MS patients are treated.
Under the terms of the agreement, GeNeuro will be responsible for the development of GNbAC1 until completion of Phase IIb, after which Servier can exercise the option to license the product for all markets excluding the USA and Japan. Financial considerations include the payment by Servier to GeNeuro of US$47 million to finance the completion of Phase IIb. Subsequent to exercising the option agreement, Servier will cover the costs of the Phase III global development program and pay GeNeuro up to US$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.
For François Curtin, CEO of GeNeuro stated: “This strategic agreement with Servier is a recognition of the innovative nature and huge potential of GeNeuro’s technology. Combining GeNeuro’s technical expertise with Servier’s scientific, medical and financial resources will create an exciting new alliance to fuel the development of our unique approach, ultimately benefitting MS patients around the world.”
Jesús Martin-Garcia, Chairman of GeNeuro declared: “This agreement is an ideal way to develop GeNeuro’s technology and deliver its full value for patients and stakeholders. With all further development costs in MS funded by our partner, GeNeuro has a clear path forward with a manageable geographic focus on two of the world’s major markets.”
Christian de Bodinat, Director of the Neuro-psychiatry Therapeutic Innovation Centre mentioned: “MS – and especially its progressive forms – is still today a major source of handicap in the world with no satisfactory therapeutic options. We are also confident that the strong expertise of GeNeuro in MS combined with Servier’s clinical experience in neurology will result in a perfect match for driving GNbAC1 to success.”
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.
By targeting MSRV-Env, GeNeuro expects to bring to patients a safe, effective treatment that can halt progression of both relapsing-remitting and progressive forms of the disease without hampering the patient’s immune system. GNbAC1 has successfully completed Phase IIa, demonstrating an optimal safety profile and encouraging signs of efficacy on a first small cohort of patients. “GNbAC1’s original mode of action proposes a true innovation in the field of MS” says Prof Hans-Peter Hartung, chairman of the Department of Neurology of the University Hospital Düsseldorf and chairman of GeNeuro’s Advisory Board.
Servier is an independent French pharmaceutical research company. Its development is based on the continuous pursuit of innovation in the therapeutic areas of cardiovascular-, metabolic-neurologic-, psychiatric-, bone- and joint diseases as well as cancer.
In 2013, the company recorded a turnover of 4.2 billion euros. 27 percent of turnover from Servier drugs were reinvested in Research and Development in 2013. With a strong international presence in 140 countries, Servier employs more than 21,000 people worldwide.