Pierre Fabre and Aurigene inked a collaborative license, development, and commercialization agreement giving Pierre Fabre worldwide rights (excluding India) to a new immune checkpoint modulator, AUNP-12. Officials at both firms say AUNP-12 provides an advanced mechanism of action in the PD-1 pathway compared to other molecules currently in development in the cancer immunotherapeutic arena.

AUNP-12, which will be in development for a number of cancer indications, is the only peptide therapeutic in this pathway and could offer more effective and safer combination opportunities with emerging and established treatment regimens, according to a spokesperson at Aurigene.

Under terms of the deal Aurigene will receive an upfront payment from Pierre Fabre as well as milestone payments based upon continued development, regulatory progress, and product commercialization.

“We are pleased that Pierre Fabre sees the PD-1 program as a strategic asset in their portfolio,” said CSN Murthy, CEO, Aurigene.

“This agreement, in the field of oncology, is fully consistent with our vision to build Pierre Fabre’s future in prescription drugs, from a combination of cutting-edge internal R&D capabilities and license partnerships with innovative biotech companies like Aurigene,” added Bertrand Parmentier, CEO, Pierre Fabre.

Further illustrating Pierre Fabre’s focus on oncology, the company earlier this month awarded the 2014 Raymond Bourgine Prize to Paul Workman, Ph.D., for his work in the field of cancer biology. Dr. Workman is deputy general manager of London’s Institute of Cancer Research, head of the cancer therapy division, and Harrap Professor of Pharmacology and Therapy.

The prize is named in honor of Raymond Bourgine, who was a famous French journalist, author, and former Paris official who died of cancer in 1990. His family created the award to highlight noteworthy scientific achievements in oncology.

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