Servier and Oncodesign announce Parkinson’s R&D tie-up

Servier and Oncodesign have announced a strategic partnership for R&D into potential drug candidates for Parkinson’s disease.

The pharma and its biotech research partner, both based in France, have said they are to develop a class of drugs known as LRRK2 kinase inhibitors as potential treatments for the disease.

Servier already has expertise in the field of neurodegenerative diseases, while Oncodesign has experience in the field of macrocyclic kinase inhibitors such as LRRK2 from previous work with cancer drugs.

The agreement will see Oncodesign take on responsibility for the research programme until selection of preclinical drug candidates, at its research site in Les Ulis, France.

The programme will be funded in its entirety by Servier, which has been granted an exclusive worldwide licensing option on any drugs developed.

This option can be granted once the FDA has given the go-ahead for clinical trials and granted Investigational New Drug (IND) status.

Oncodesign will receive an initial payment of 3 million euros upon signing the partnership agreement, followed by other significant milestone payments until the validation of entry into phase 1.

Oncodesign will receive 3 million euros in annual funding for research activities related to the project.

All in all, Servier could pay Oncodesign up to 320 million euros,  around $360 million, in milestone payments, excluding royalties.

Although PD is regarded as a sporadic disorder with no clearly identified origin, the companies noted that LRRK2 mutations are associated with the highest risk of familial PD, and increased levels of LRRK2 are also observed in sporadic patients.

Pathological characteristics and clinical symptoms are indistinguishable between sporadic patients and patients with familial disease and LRRK2 mutations.

LRRK2 is a multidomain protein which contains a core region with both GTPase and kinase enzymatic activities where most mutations that cause the disease are located.

LRRK2 inhibition represents a potential neuroprotective and disease-modifying therapeutic principle for the treatment of PD.

Philippe Genne, CEO and founder of Oncodesign, said: “The pharmaceutical industry is currently showing a keen interest in new treatments for Parkinson’s disease, particularly around LRRK2 kinase, which is considered as a high-potential target for treating this disease.

“Servier’s expertise will be a key asset in the early stage of this research agreement with regard to successfully carrying out the program which, in the medium term, could lead to the development of new drug candidates.”

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