Servier has linked up with BioInvent International to develop one of the French drugmaker's oncology targets using the Swedish group's technology.

Specifically, Servier  will engage BioInvent to screen its n-CoDeR library for antibodies specific to the undisclosed target which is involved in tumour cell metabolism. It will also have access to the Lund-headquartered firm's pre-clinical capacities in selecting an antibody candidate for development.

Cashwise, BioInvent says it will get a licensing fee, research support and potential milestone payments of more than 11 million euros, plus royalties. Stephane Depil, head of oncology R&D at Servier, said the pact is expected to "enable us to develop one of the first monoclonal antibodies targeting tumour cell metabolism, an approach anticipated to have major therapeutic potential”.

Servier's R&D chief Emmanuel Canet added that the firm is reinforcing "its capacity of using biologics to address very innovative targets for treating cancer and we are looking forward to benefiting from Bioinvent’s experience in the field".

Oncology push

The deal is the latest in a number of cancer alliances the Suresnes-based group has entered into of late. Last month, a deal worth potentially $470 million was signed with the USA's MacroGenics to develop MGA271, a first-in-class, monoclonal antibody that targets B7-H3 and is currently being studied in Phase I for the treatment of solid tumours.

In October 2011, oncology alliances were inked with fellow French firm Hybrigenics and Galapagos.