Servier announces expansion of collaboration for the development and commercialization of anticancer drug candidates targeting apoptosis

Suresnes (France), December 7th, 2015

Servier today announced that Novartis has exercised an option to expand its research agreement to include anti-Mcl-1 drug candidates.  Mcl-1, one of the most frequently amplified genes in cancer cells, is involved in cancer cell survival, but no selective and potent inhibitor has been developed yet.

In 2014 the companies entered into a strategic global collaboration to develop and commercialize specific Bcl-2 inhibitors from Servier research programs that are partnered with Vernalis (Press Release, May 2014).  These molecules are inducing apoptosis in cancer cells by neutralizing anti-apoptotic proteins of the Bcl-2 family.

Under the terms of the collaboration expansion, Servier and Novartis now extend their collaboration to co-develop and commercialize anti-Mcl-1 drug candidates. Servier remains responsible for research activities on the whole apoptosis program and will share responsibilities with Novartis to conduct preclinical development and worldwide clinical development programs. Commercialization rights to products arising from the collaboration will be allocated between the parties on a geographic basis.

Jean-Pierre Abastado, Ph.D., Director of the Center of Therapeutic Innovation in Oncology at Servier, said: “We are excited to expand our collaboration with Novartis.  For many years we have worked to discover compounds inhibiting Bcl-2 family members whose deregulation plays a major role in the aberrant survival of cancer cells. Our ultimate goal is to bring these innovative therapies targeting apoptosis to patients suffering from cancers.”

Emmanuel Canet, M.D., Ph.D., President of Servier R&D commented that “this significant collaboration with one of the leaders in the field today reinforces Servier innovative approach in oncology research and its commitment to provide cancer patients with novel options to treat blood cancers as well as solid tumors.”


About Mcl-1 target and Bcl-2 protein family

Mcl-1 is part of a closely related group of proteins known as the ‘Bcl-2 family’ are crucial inhibitors of apoptosis, the programmed cell death. Deregulations of this protein family play a major role in the aberrant survival of cancer cells. Pro-survival Bcl-2 family members have been recognized as attractive therapeutic targets in oncology for more than twenty years but drug discovery research on this class of targets is particularly challenging and requires innovative chemistry supported by structural biology. Both hematological malignancies and solid tumors could be targeted by these novel drug candidates.


About Servier

Servier is an independent French research-based pharmaceutical company. Its development is driven by the pursuit of innovation in the therapeutic areas of cardiovascular, metabolic, central nervous system, psychiatric, bone, muscle and joint diseases, as well as cancer.

In 2014, the company recorded a turnover of 4 billion euros.

92% of Servier medicines are prescribed outside of France.

28% of turnover from Servier drugs was reinvested in Research and Development in 2014.

With a strong international presence in 146 countries, Servier employs more than 21 400 people worldwide.


More information is available at:

Servier Communication Department

Tel: +33 1 5572 6037