Oncodesign and Ipsen enter into a research collaboration for the development of new therapeutic agents against the LRRK2 Parkinson’s disease target

Oncodesign, a Drug Discovery company and Oncology pharmacology service provider, and Ipsen (Euronext: IPN, ADR: IPSEY), a global specialty-driven pharmaceutical company, announced today that the two companies have entered into a research collaboration to discover and develop innovative LRRK2 kinase inhibitors as potential therapeutic agents against Parkinson’s Disease and for potential additional uses in other therapeutic areas. 

Oncodesign and Ipsen will leverage their respective expertise to bring innovative therapeutic solutions to Parkinson patients.Oncodesign’s Nanocyclix(R) is a proprietary medicinal chemistry technology based on a macrocyclisation process of small chemical molecules that gives access to potent and highly selective small molecule kinase inhibitors with attractive physicochemical and ADME properties. Oncodesign has identified Nanocyclix(R) leads against a broad range of known and unexplored kinases (notably the LRRK2 program) with potential in multiple therapeutic areas.

Ipsen will apply its expertise in pharmaceutical R&D and translational sciences while leveraging its network of academic and medical leaders in neurosciences.“We are very proud and excited to have been selected by Ipsen as a partner on this innovative research collaboration. This agreement advances our strategy to partner on Drug Discovery activities in addition to our well known preclinical evaluation Service Activities in advanced Oncology pharmacology”, said Philippe Genne, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer and founder of Oncodesign.

Jan Hoflack, Ph.D., Chief Scientific Officer and Leader of Oncodesign’s Discovery Activities added: “This Agreement allows us to advance our series of attractive LRRK2 inhibitors together with a partner with recognized expertise in CNS Research. This is our first Drug Discovery partnership with a major biopharmaceutical company based on our Nanocyclix(R) technology, validating our ability to identify uniquely potent and selective novel kinase inhibitors for use in Oncology, CNS and other Therapeutic areas.”

Claude Bertrand, Ipsen’s Executive Vice President, R&D and Chief Scientific Officer, stated: “Our collaboration with Oncodesign is the expression of our recently announced strategy to extend our R&D through expert external partners for compounds outside our chosen areas of focus, peptides and toxins. In the field of Neurology and Movement Disorders, Parkinson’s disease is a serious condition with high unmet medical needs where patients are seeking improved care and quality of life. Today, there is no treatment targeting the underlying pathogenetic mechanism leading to progressive deterioration in those patients.”

About the agreement

Under the terms of the agreement, Ipsen is granted two exclusive options to exclusively license Oncodesign’s LRRK2 inhibitor program, notably upon successfully reaching clinical proof of concept, with worldwide development, manufacturing and commercialization rights. Oncodesign is entitled to a technology access fee, funding of the program’s research and early development activities, and upon exercise of the license options, opt-in fees and additional development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments potentially totaling EUR115 million (approx. USD149 million) for the development of molecules in two or more indications, and tiered royalties on net sales.

About Parkinson’s disease

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is the most common neurodegenerative movement disorder afflicting one per cent of the population 65 years and older. Clinical features include bradykinesia, rigidity and tremor. PD is characterized by progressive loss of dopaminergic neurons and accumulation of aggregation of alpha–synuclein protein in the brain.

Only dopamine replacement therapy which compensates the dopamine neuronal loss reduces with some efficacy motor symptoms in PD patients but does not stop or slow the neurodegenerative process. At present, there are no proven neuroprotective or neurorestorative therapies. Disease modification is thus the most important goal in PD.

About LRRK2 target

Although PD is regarded as a sporadic disorder, five to ten per cent of PD cases are genetically inherited as familial. LRRK2 mutations represent the highest risk of familial PD and are also observed in sporadic patients.

Pathological characteristics and clinical symptoms observed in patients carrying LRRK2 mutations are indistinguishable between familial and sporadic patients. LRRK2 is a multidomain protein which contains both GTPase and Kinase enzymatic activities where most pathogenic mutations are located. LRRK2 inhibition represents a potential neuroprotective therapeutic target for the treatment of PD.

About Oncodesign

Founded in 1995 and headed by Dr. Philippe Genne, Oncodesign(R) is a pioneer in the preclinical assessment of anti-cancer therapies, a market that it has led for many years now. Oncodesign’s mission consists of discovering effective anti-cancer therapies. Its scientific expertise in pharmacology, imaging and medicinal chemistry, in addition to strong project management skills, support the company’s two strategic activities of experimentation and discovery, conducted in partnership with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies.

The experimentation activity is organized in three technological platforms: PREDICT(R) specializes in conventional in vitro and in vivo pharmacology; Chi-Mice(R) focuses on the development of in vivo chimeric humanized models; PharmImage(R) is dedicated to multimodal, non-invasive pharmaco-imaging. On the basis of these three platforms, Oncodesign markets a broad range of products and services (fee-for-service) for the assessment, validation, targeting and diagnostic linking of anticancer therapies. In 2010, Oncodesign has incorporated a medicinal chemistry technology into its discovery activity: Nanocyclix(R), which is dedicated to the synthesis of highly potent and selective novel kinase inhibitors. The combination of these four technological platforms results in a unique and innovative translational research approach in a risk-sharing approach between partners.For more information, see: http://www.oncodesign.com

About Ipsen

Ipsen is a global specialty-driven pharmaceutical company with total sales exceeding EUR1.1 billion in 2010. Ipsen’s ambition is to become a leader in specialty healthcare solutions for targeted debilitating diseases. Its development strategy is supported by four franchises: neurology / Dysport(R), endocrinology / Somatuline(R), uro-oncology / Decapeptyl(R) and hemophilia. Moreover, the Group has an active policy of partnerships. R&D is focused on innovative and differentiated technological patient driven platforms, peptides and toxins. In 2010, R&D expenditure totaled more than EUR220 million, above 20 per cent of Group sales. The Group has total worldwide staff of close to 4,500 employees. Ipsen’s shares are traded on segment A of Euronext Paris (stock code: IPN,

ISIN code: FR0010259150) and eligible to the “Service de Règlement Différé” (“SRD”). The Group is part of the SBF 120 index. Ipsen has implemented a Sponsored Level I American Depositary Receipt (ADR) program, which trade on the over-the-counter market in the United States under the symbol IPSEY. For more information on Ipsen, visit http://www.ipsen.com