Switzerland-based Nycomed has announced plans to sell off a major part of its R&D oncology projects to German firm 4SC.

Eight programmes at the pre- and early-clinical stage will be transferred to 4SC by the end of July in a deal for which financial terms were not disclosed. Nycomed says it has taken the decision following a strategic review of all its R&D projects because “a further engagement in the oncology field” would have required the firm to build up capabilities in late-stage development and marketing in cancer.

Kerstin Valinder, Nycomed’s executive vice president for business development, said that the deal now “paves the way for in-licensing in other target areas such as gastrointestinal, respiration, inflammation, pain, osteoporosis and tissue management”. The selling-off of the oncology operations is the latest in a number of major changes taking place at Nycomed which recently announced that it was planning to move the vast majority of its raw material sourcing to India from sites at Linz (Austria) and Singen (Germany) within the next three to four years.

The agreement is a big one for 4SC, which is based in Martinsried and was founded in 1997. It specialises in the development of drug candidates for inflammatory and infectious diseases, as well as cancer using a cheminformatics-based technology platform.

Prior to the Nycomed deal, the firm’s pipeline contained six projects in the pipeline, the most advanced being SC12267, which has successfully completed Phase IIa trials for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.