14 February 2017
Vernalis achieves a $3 million milestone payment from Corvus Pharmaceuticals Inc
Vernalis plc is pleased to announce the achievement of a clinical milestone from its collaboration with Corvus Pharmaceuticals Inc ("Corvus") triggering a payment of $3 million to Vernalis.
In February 2015, the Company licensed exclusive, worldwide rights to its adenosine receptor antagonist programme, CPI-444, for use in all therapeutic applications to Corvus, a US-based biotechnology company focused on developing novel immuno-oncology therapies.
CPI-444 is a patented small molecule that is now being evaluated in a Phase 1/1b trial in patients with advanced cancers. It is the lead molecule in Corvus' pipeline and is being developed both as a single agent and in combination therapy. The clinical trial utilizes an adaptive design that allows expansion of disease-specific cohorts upon reaching certain pre-defined endpoints.
Corvus announced positive data from its Phase 1/1b study in January 2017, having achieved the clinical study protocol criteria for expansion in the cohort of patients with renal cell carcinoma with single agent CPI-444. This study expansion triggers the first clinical milestone payment of $3 million under the licensing agreement. Corvus has stated that, if early findings are confirmed with longer follow up and a larger set of patients in this expanded study, a registration trial could commence by the end of 2017.
Corvus was launched through a $33.3 million Series A fundraising in 2014 by the founder and former senior management at Pharmacyclics Inc and it raised a further $74.8 million Series B fundraising in 2015 and $70.7 million via a US IPO in March 2016.
The licensing deal has the potential for Vernalis to earn approximately $220 million in milestones from all indications, subject to development, regulatory and sales milestones being achieved. In addition, there are mid-single digit royalties payable if a product reaches the market, with the potential to reach low-double digit royalties in certain circumstances.
Ian Garland, CEO of Vernalis commented "We are delighted with both the speed of progress of CPI-444 and the promising indication of single-agent activity in renal cell carcinoma patients as well other disease cohorts. Corvus has a wealth of clinical and commercial expertise and continues to demonstrate that it is an ideal partner for the program. We will watch progress with a great deal of interest over the remainder of 2017."
This announcement contains inside information.
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Notes to Editors
Vernalis is a revenue generating, commercial stage pharmaceutical company with significant expertise in drug development. The Group has three approved products: Tuzistra® XR targeting the US prescription cough-cold market; Moxatag®, a once-a-day formulation of the antibiotic, amoxicillin, indicated for the treatment of tonsillitis and/or pharyngitis secondary to Streptococcus pyogenes in adults and pediatric patients 12 years and older; and frovatriptan for the acute treatment of migraine. It has an exclusive licensing agreement to develop and commercialise multiple novel products focussed on the US prescription cough-cold market as well as eight programmes in its NCE development pipeline. Vernalis has also significant expertise in fragment and structure based drug discovery which it leverages to enter into collaborations with larger pharmaceutical companies. The Company's technologies, capabilities and products have been endorsed over the last five years by collaborations with leading pharmaceutical companies, including Asahi Kasei Pharma, Biogen Idec, Endo, GSK, Genentech, Lundbeck, Menarini, Novartis, Servier, Taisho, and Tris.
For further information about Vernalis, please visit www.vernalis.com.
Corvus Pharmaceuticals Inc is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of novel immuno-oncology therapies that are designed to harness the immune system to attack cancer cells.
For more information, visit www.corvuspharma.com.
Vernalis Forward-Looking Statement
This news release may contain forward-looking statements that reflect the Company's current expectations regarding future events including the clinical development and regulatory clearance of the Company's products, the Company's ability to find partners for the development and commercialisation of its NCE pipeline, the Company's ability to successfully commercialise its cough-cold products and Moxatag® through its own sales force, as well as the Company's future capital raising activities. Forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties. Actual events could differ materially from those projected herein and depend on a number of factors including the success of the Company's research strategies, the applicability of the discoveries made therein, the successful and timely completion of clinical studies, the uncertainties related to the regulatory process, the ability of the Company to identify and agree beneficial terms with suitable partners for the commercialisation and/or development of its products, as well as the achievement of expected synergies from such transactions, the acceptance of Tuzistra® XR, Moxatag®, frovatriptan and other products by consumers and medical professionals, the successful integration of completed mergers and acquisitions and achievement of expected synergies from such transactions, and the ability of the Company to identify and consummate suitable strategic and business combination transacti