Ipsen tightens ties to Oncodesign through cancer pharmacology pact


Ipsen (EPA:IPN) has strengthened its connection to Oncodesign (EPA:ALONC), the French oncology specialist that lists Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY) among its partners. The new deal will see Oncodesign move staff to Ipsen’s R&D campus in Paris, from where they will manage preclinical pharmacology for their host’s oncology research programs.

Paris, France-based Ipsen has contracted with Oncodesign on a fee-for-service and codevelopment basis for 20 years. The latter years of that period have been defined by the forging of a closer union, starting with the drug discovery partnership the compatriots formed in 2012. Now, Ipsen has gone a step further, handing off responsibility for all its preclinical cancer pharmacology to Oncodesign and welcoming some of its partner’s staff to its R&D campus on the outskirts of Paris.

The plan is to relocate four Oncodesign workers to Ipsen’s facility, a spokesperson for the latter company told FierceBiotech. In doing so, Oncodesign thinks it can benefit its broader business. “Oncodesign will also gain access to new skills and expertise critical for the development of new therapies, including in pharmacology and the development of biomarkers,” Oncodesign CEO Philippe Genne said in a statement.

Oncodesign will continue to service Ipsen from its facility in Dijon, with its partner footing the bill for its research efforts in both locations through minimum guaranteed annual fees. Ipsen has also signed up to pay variable amounts tied to the success of its programs. The agreement comes 5 months after Oncodesign pocketed $3 million (€2.6 million) upfront--and up to $80 million per target in milestones--as part of a drug discovery collaboration with Bristol-Myers.

Dijon, France-based Oncodesign landed the deals on the strength and breadth of its cancer research capabilities. While Ipsen has signed up to tap into Oncodesign’s pharmacology skills, Bristol-Myers’ collaboration is based upon medicinal chemistry technology. The capabilities have also attracted UCB (EBR:UCB), which licensed a neurological disease program from the company last year.

- read the statement