Euroscreen, a Belgian drug discovery and development company providing first-in-class small molecule drug candidates for therapeutics areas such as hormonal disorders, inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases, announced an exclusive world-wide research collaboration and licensing agreement with Merck & Co. Inc. on one of its programs.
Terms of the agreement
Under the terms of the agreement, Merck & Co. Inc. will be responsible for the development of all compounds and products. Euroscreen has received an upfront payment and will receive additional committed undisclosed research funding over the next two to four years. Euroscreen is also eligible to receive certain pre-specified development milestones to over EUR 100 million and royalties on worldwide sales of any future marketed products that may result from the collaboration.
We are proud to collaborate with Merck to develop an innovative treatment that may address a real unmet medical need. This collaboration validates once again that our drug development capabilities and our ability to deliver are recognized by big pharma partners, said Jean Combalbert, Ph.D., CEO of Euroscreen.
A company with a high international standing
This international collaboration with Merck is not the first one for Euroscreen which has an extensive track-record in licensing and partnering deals with several important players of the pharmaceutical industry such as Astra Zeneca, Cephalon (now Teva), Boehringer-Ingelheim, Janssen, Novartis, Pfizer and UCB. Created 20 years ago, Euroscreen employs around 40 people, and is highly recognized and well-rooted in the international drug development sector.
A drug discovery and development company
Initially developing and commercializing G Protein-Coupled Receptors (GPCR) reagents, Euroscreen has now a pipeline of clinical and preclinical drug candidates targeting GPCRs, to address such therapeutic areas as sex hormone-dependent diseases, inflammation and neurodegenerative diseases. The most advanced program based on ESN364, an oral, small-molecule acting on NK3 receptor developed for the treatment of multiple Women’s Health disorders, having completed with success a phase I Trial in December 2014. “The very safe and well tolerated profile of ESN364 exhibits in Phase I data give us a strong competitive advantage compared to GnRH ligand products to provide a superior product with regard to both safety and efficacy for a large scope of indications of Women’s Health. Such promising results allowed us to initiate in January 2015 two phase II Proof of concept studies in parallel focused on Uterine Fibroids and on Poly Cystic Ovarian Syndrome” said Jean Combalbert.
Euroscreen is focusing its internal programs on highly valuable targets giving strong competitive added value on unmet medical needs; in parallel a dedicated business unit providing GPCR research services for biotech and pharmaceutical companies around the world. Euroscreen has also developed a broad target patent portfolio for licensing intellectual property rights to pharmaceutical companies for the development of therapeutic drugs.
Based in Gosselies, south-Brussels (Belgium), Euroscreen is backed by leading investors including Vesalius Biocapital, SRIW and BNP Paribas Fortis Private Equity. Over the past three years, Euroscreen raised EUR 14 million in equity investment.
A constant support from the Walloon Region
Since inception Euroscreen has always received public support on its internal programs. In the past four years, Euroscreen was awarded with one grant (EUR 2.4 million) and one reimbursable subside (EUR 3.3 million) from the Walloon Region (DG06) and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).