Vernalis is tasked with finding candidates against one of its targets, while GSK will conduct preclinical studies.

GlaxoSmithKline is paying Vernalis $6 million up front for one of its oncology targets. The up-front fee includes $3 million in cash and a $3 million equity investment, but potential milestone payments could top $200 million. Vernalis also stands to earn additional double-digit sales royalties. 

Under the exclusive collaboration, option, and license agreement, Vernalis is responsible for drug discovery activities. It will use its structure-based drug design technologies to develop novel candidates against the target.

GSK will have responsibility for preclinical development of candidate compounds. Upon IND filing, GSK will have the option to license all collaboration-related compounds. If this option is exercised, the company would be responsible for all future development and commercialization responsibilities.

The GSK deal follows a three-year collaboration signed in May between Vernalis and Servier, also focused on the discovery of drugs against a new oncology target. In July Vernalis announced it has selected a development candidate, V158411, from its Checkpoint Kinase 1 (Chk1) oncology research program.

“Earlier this year we set ourselves the goal of securing research collaborations to fund a substantial proportion of our research activities,” explains Ian Garland, Vernalis CEO. “The risk-sharing structure of today’s deal allows us to achieve our research funding goal but to also retain a significant upside from successful development of this novel Vernalis oncology program.”

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