Neurology and autoimmune therapeutics company GeNeuro SA has just announced the formation of a partnership with independent French pharmaceutical company Servier for the co-development and marketing of GNbAC1 for Multiple Sclerosis (MS). It is the first humanized monocloncal antibody treatment formulated to address one of this disease’s causal factors, making it a potentially pivotal MS drug that can reshape traditional approaches to treatment.
“This strategic agreement with Servier is a recognition of the innovative nature and huge potential of GeNeuro’s technology,” said François Curtin, CEO of GeNeuro. “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.”
GNbAC1 works to target MSRV-Env, the envelope protein of MS-associated retrovirus, a member of the HERV-W family. Normally these proteins are inactive, but are stimulated and actively expressed in lesions during early stage multiple sclerosis. MSRV-Env’s function as an inflammatory agent and inhibitor of remyelination makes it a key driver of disease progression.
By developing GNbAC1 to selectively target this harmful protein, GeNeuro is confident patients with relapsing-remitting and progressive multiple sclerosis can maintain quality of life without worrying about systemic immunocompromise. The drug has already completed a Phase IIa study, which showed a favorable safety and efficacy profile in a small sample size of MS patients. Professor Hans-Peter Hartung, the chairman of the Department of Neurology of the University Hospital Düsseldorf and chairman of GeNeuro’s Advisory Board, is confident GNbAC1 is the breakthrough MS patients have been hoping for.
The two companies have agreed GeNeuro will oversee the development of GNbAC1 until Phase IIb’s completion, and receive a $47 million payment to fund the study. Servier will then have the option to license the product for all markets, outside of USA and Japan, and cover the additional costs of a subsequent Phase III international development program. GeNeuro is then entitled up to $408 million in future development and sales milestones and royalties. Lastly, Servier will have the option to become a GeNeuro minority shareholder in the next 12 months.