Deals, Drug Development

Servier shrugs off a multimillion-dollar investment, abandoning a failed MS drug developed by GeNeuro

Four years after Servier paid $44 million in cash for the option to partner with Geneva-based GeNeuro, the French biotech is shrugging off the investment of time and money and bowing out.

Emmanuel Canet

GeNeuro says that the move leaves them free to start new partnering discussions for the global rights to GNbAC1, an experimental drug for multiple sclerosis which failed a Phase IIb trial just 6 months ago. That trial, though, set up a $13.5 million milestone for the last patient visit that Servier was required to cover at the beginning of this year.

Shares of GeNeuro $GNRO dropped 18% on the news today.

The primary endpoint of the study — which recruited 270 patients — was a reduction in brain lesions. That failed. Researchers for GeNeuro, though, insisted that their post hoc analyses, rarely very convincing, showed positive remyelination and anti-inflammatory effects.

Both sides say the end of the option pact came as the sole result of some strategic rethinking of Servier’s R&D plans. But GeNeuro is also ending an extension study of the MS trial which Servier had been paying for as they weigh the best way to get into a pivotal Phase III program.

“Based on R&D strategic reasons, Servier has made the difficult choice to decline the option to license GeNeuro’s compound in MS,” said Servier R&D chief Emmanuel Canet. “We were glad to work with GeNeuro harmoniously, and are proud to have contributed to the development of a new approach to treat disease progression, the major unmet medical need in MS…Servier believes in the potential of this approach and will continue to support the company as a shareholder.”

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