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Servier expands breast cancer partnership

Will build on deal with French cancer research centre Curie-Cancer

Servier expanded its research partnership with French cancer research centre Curie-Cancer to encompass work on identifying new therapeutic targets to treat triple negative breast cancer.

It's a form of the disease that does not express oestrogen, progesterone or HER2, receptors that can stimulate growth of the cancer and for which there are currently specific treatments available, including hormone therapy and Roche's Herceptin (trastuzumab).

However, there are no targeted treatments for triple negative breast cancer, which is thought to account for 15 per cent of all breast cancers, limiting patient treatment options to surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

To counter this, Servier has been working with Curie-Cancer since 2005, when the two bodies agreed to pool together their expertise to identify potential drug targets specific to triple negative breast cancer using Curie-Cancer's collection of breast cancer samples.

According to Servier, the partnership has led to the discovery of "a number of very promising leads", including kinase TTK/MPS1, an enzyme involved in cell cycle regulation.

With this prospect in the pipeline, Servier and Curie-Cancer have agreed to extend their collaboration for another three years, sharing any intellectual property resulting from their work.

Emmanuel Canet, president of R&D at Servier, said: “Our decision to extend the partnership for a further three years was inspired by these highly encouraging results, the need to look at the other results obtained in more depth and the desire to explore other potential leads.”

Other drugs in development for triple negative breast cancer include Abbvie's veliparib, which is in phase II development, and Merck's highly promising MK-3475, which has shown potential in a number of indications.

Some companies have struggled in the area, however, including Sanofi, which saw its investigational drug iniparib fail to meet trial targets in 2011.

Article by
Thomas Meek

30th January 2014

From: Research

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