BioWorld International Correspondent

PARIS UroGene SA entered into a three-year research collaboration with Pierre Fabre M dicament to discover and develop new active compounds to treat prostate cancer against a validated biological target identified by UroGene.

The gene target concerned is a cell surface protein that is elevated in more than 80 percent of advanced stages of prostate cancer. Pierre Fabre M dicament, part of the Paris-based BioM rieux-Pierre Fabre group, will screen the protein to identify potentially active compounds within its large library of plant-derived anticancer compounds.

Under the agreement, UroGene will receive an up-front payment, milestones and other research and development income totaling up to EUR10 million (US$9 million) should one product arising from the collaboration reach the market, plus royalties on product sales.

UroGene will participate in the pharmacological validation of lead compounds, while Pierre Fabre will be responsible for further development of drug candidates. UroGene will “develop a cellular model for measuring the activity of compounds,” CEO Christian Grenier told BioWorld International, adding that he hoped two or three would be identified for validation, optimization and possible development.

Grenier said the therapeutic target concerned was one of many in UroGene’s library. “The company did not discover it, but identified and validated its therapeutic potential for prostate cancer and has obtained patents for those applications,” he explained. Based in France’s national biotechnology science and business park at Evry, UroGene is specialized in the discovery and validation of new therapeutic targets in prostate cancer and other urological cancers and disorders.

Pointing out that the deal with Pierre Fabre was an ad hoc research collaboration with a specific objective, Grenier stressed that UroGene’s primary strategy was to develop drugs itself, taking them at least as far as Phase I/II clinical trials. n