Post-IPO Ergomed keeps rolling with its risk-sharing partnerships

U.K. drug development outfit Ergomed has come out the other end of its London IPO, touting a range of R&D partnerships that give it a chance to share the rewards of its clients' work.

Over the summer, the CRO made its way onto London's AIM market, netting about $16.6 million and using some of the proceeds to buy PrimeVigilance, a pharmacovigilance reporting outfit. Now, with its finances sorted, Ergomed is looking forward to a slew of late-stage projects that could prove the merits of its risk-sharing approach to R&D.

First up, the company is working with Cel-Sci ($CVM) on a large Phase III study pitting the stateside biotech's lead candidate against head and neck cancer. The plan is to enroll about 880 patients around the world, and the two companies have deepened their ties by collaborating on early-stage trials designed to expand potential indication's for Cel-Sci's drug.

Ergomed is also progressing in its work with Synta Pharmaceuticals ($SNTA) and its top prospect, the cancer-treating ganetespib. On the heels of positive results from a Phase IIb trial, the two have kicked off a Phase III study that will enroll 850 patients with non-small cell lung cancer adenocarcinoma. Synta expects interim data by the second half of 2015 and final analysis the following year.

Rounding out Ergomed's Phase III calendar is a collaboration with Aeterna Zentaris ($AEZS) on zoptaerlin, a treatment for endometrial cancer. The partners are enrolling 500 patients and expecting to conduct a first interim analysis next year.

Ergomed divides its business into two segments: a services unit that works like a traditional contractor, handling studies from early phases to post-marketing; and a co-development arm, which inks risk-sharing deals that trade development work for a share of future revenue on a product.

The latter model has been key to the London company's profitability, CEO Miroslav Reljanovic said, and Ergomed is working to expand its list of collaborators.

"We are in detailed discussions with regards to potential new co-development partnerships and expect to announce further deals in the next 6 months," Reljanovic said in a statement. "We believe the co-development model has the potential to generate significant value for Ergomed shareholders through the effective execution of clinical studies through flexible partnerships."

- read the statement

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