Merck Serono, the biopharmaceutical division of Merck, and Selvita, a biotechnology company based in Poland, announced today that they have entered into a collaboration to jointly discover small molecule based drugs targeting proteins involved in cancer cell metabolism. The partners plan to target key metabolic pathways involved in sustaining growth and proliferation of cancer cells.
The aim of the collaboration is to deliver potential first-in-class molecules as candidate drugs for multiple oncology indications. Both companies will contribute to the collaboration’s research goals and bring their expertise in target validation, bioinformatics, medicinal chemistry, in vitro and in vivo biology and toxicology. Milestone payments will be made to Selvita if Merck Serono initiates development programs or successfully commercializes collaboration candidates.
“As part of our strategy, we utilize the strong technical expertise of our partners to constantly enrich our pipeline with truly differentiated molecules,” said Susan Jane Herbert, executive vice president and head of Business Development & Strategy at Merck Serono. “Given the capabilities of Selvita in the area of oncology, we believe that this new partnership will complement our drug discovery efforts, delivering molecules that aim to transform patients’ lives.”
Pawel Przewiezlikowski, the chief executive officer of Selvita, said: “It is an honor for us to start this collaboration with Merck Serono, and to form project teams by bringing together our combined oncology expertise and drug discovery know-how, our scientists and technical resources.”
Krzysztof Brzozka, the chief scientific officer of Selvita, added: “Both companies aim at rapid validation of emerging targets through a preclinical proof of concept, followed by translation of the findings into development concepts for potential novel therapies. I believe that the dynamic and innovative environment at both companies guarantees a cutting edge approach for this joint research initiative.”
Selvita started its first oncology discovery program in 2008, and has built over the last five years a team of science driven experts.
As part of the research collaboration Selvita will receive from Merck Serono planned research funding of €2.4 million and additional funding for external costs from 2013 through 2015.
Merck Serono will also perform additional research at its own cost within the jointly defined research plan. After the end of the collaboration the parties aim to continue the development of jointly discovered molecules which may constitute additional revenue stream for Selvita from development milestones.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery