Celladon said today it granted Servier an exclusive option to license outside-the-U.S. rights “for a certain period” to a research program that will use Celladon’s compounds, assays and screening technology to discover and develop new small-molecule modulators of SERCA2b enzymes toward possible future treatments for type 2 diabetes and other metabolic diseases.

SERCA (Sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase) enzymes control calcium movement in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) of all human cells. SERCA2b enzyme levels become deficient when cells are stressed, and accumulate unfolded proteins in the ER—a condition called ER stress.

Studies have linked ER stress to diseases and conditions that include heart failure, diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases. Celladon says its first-in-class compounds have shown promising activity in multiple preclinical disease models.

The value of the option agreement was not disclosed, though Celladon said it would receive undisclosed upfront, research support and milestone payments, plus royalties on sales, if Servier exercises its option. That decision will be based on the outcome of pre-defined in vitro and in vivo studies by the companies, Celladon said.

Celladon and Servier agreed to jointly support the discovery effort, with Servier primarily responsible for all costs associated with a development plan outside the U.S., as well as outside-U.S. regulatory approval and commercialization of any compound selected as a lead candidate.

Celladon said it would retain all U.S. rights to any compounds and lead candidates developed through the collaboration and license agreement with Servier. 

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