French pharma company Servier has entered into a research partnership with UK biotech MiNA Therapeutics to develop small activating RNA (saRNA) therapies for the treatment of neurological diseases.

Under the terms of the deal, MiNA will engage its saRNA platform to identify new potential treatments with the aim of restoring normal cell function in neurological disorders.

Meanwhile, Servier will be responsible for preclincial and clinical development of the lead candidates and will retain the rights for the commercialisation of any products resulting from the partnership.

Although details of the specifics of the deal are sparse, the companies disclosed that MiNA would receive an upfront payment and exclusivity fee for certain ‘targets of interest’.

MiNA will also be entitled to research and development, regulatory and commercial milestones and royalties.

“MiNA’s innovative approach to activate gene expression through small activating RNAs is an exciting opportunity to unlock potential for the treatment of genetically defined neurodegenerative diseases, for which there are currently limited treatment options,” said Ross Jeggo, head of Neurology and Immuno-inflammation, Servier.

“We are delighted to welcome the MiNA team and to combine their unique approach to restoring cellular function with Servier's focus on treating neurological diseases,” he added.

“Working together with Servier, an established pharmaceutical leader in the treatment of CNS disorders, will enable us to expand the evaluation of our platform beyond our current liver-focused indications in an area of great unmet medical need,” added Robert Habib, chief executive officer of MiNA.