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Vernalis regains compounds from Serono

This article was originally published in Scrip

Executive Summary

Vernalishas regained the rights to certain compounds targeting inflammatory diseases, following the merger of Merck KGaA and Serono. These compounds were previously part of a licence, development and commercialisation agreement between Vernalis and Serono. The lead compound in the portfolio, V85546 (previously AS111793), is a selective MMP-12 inhibitor and has successfully completed Phase I clinical trials. Vernalis is determining the optimal Phase II development programme for V85546 and intends to conduct further development of the compound under a new collaborative agreement. V85546 could be developed for the treatment of several inflammatory diseases, including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, acute respiratory distress syndrome and multiple sclerosis. If the compound does not display the joint-pain side-effects inherent in other previous drugs in this area, it could have significant potential, Piper Jaffray analysts said. The analysts added that Vernalis could become an attractive takeover target, potentially for a CNS-focused company, following its restructuring and given that it has sufficient cash to fund its pipeline through further trials. Vernalis's share price rose by £0.23 to close at £2.93 on October 22nd.

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