Vernalis, GSK forge $200M cancer research pact

The UK's Vernalis has garnered a fresh injection of cash and stands to gain more than $200 million in fees and milestones from a new research pact it forged with pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline.

Vernalis will use its drug design technology to identify new therapeutic candidates for an undisclosed cancer target. The company will be responsible for the discovery phase with Glaxo stepping in to take charge of the preclinical work. Once any INDs are filed, Glaxo will have the option to license the compounds and will be solely responsible for all the clinical development work.

Vernalis gets $6 million upfront in the deal, including $3 million in equity from Glaxo's purchase of company stock. And there's a chance for the developer to earn even more milestone money on products that can be developed outside the oncology realm.

"Earlier this year we set ourselves the goal of securing research collaborations to fund a substantial proportion of our research activities. In May we announced a second collaboration with Servier and today we are delighted to announce this licensing agreement with GSK," said Vernalis CEO Ian Garland.

- read the press release from Vernalis