UK drugmaker Vernalis and French private pharma Servier have decided to extend their ongoing cancer drug discovery and research alliance following a successful initial three-year term.

As per terms of the original deal signed in 2007, the firms are using Vernalis’ proprietary drug discovery platform on two undisclosed oncology targets involving protein-protein interactions.

While financial details remain under wraps, the Winnersh-based firm received upfront payments on sealing the deal, a 500,000-Euro payment from Servier on reaching the first milestone, and the promise of “a share in the downstream success” of any commercialised products.

Explaining the rationale behind the deal extension, Bernard Marchand, director of Servier Research, said his company is “very satisfied” with the progress of the collaboration to date and that the move should allow the groups “to finalise the discovery of innovative compounds with potential use in therapeutic indications with high unmet medical need”.