Serono seals oncology drug pact with Rigel

Switzerland's Serono has in-licensed experimental cancer drugs from South San Francisco-based Rigel's Aurora kinase inhibitor program in a deal that could be worth up to $160 million. For cash-heavy Serono, this could be the first of several such licensing pacts as the drug developer looks to expand its presence in oncology. Rigel will gain $25 million up front.

"This partnership with Rigel further strengthens our portfolio of R&D projects in oncology, and confirms our commitment to develop specialist drugs to tackle significant areas of unmet medical need", said Dr Tim Wells, senior executive vice president, research and development, Serono. "We believe that inhibition of Aurora kinase is a promising approach to treating cancer and Rigel has produced some of the most promising candidates we have seen. We look forward to moving R763 into the clinic in 2006."

- read this press release for more information