Vernalis has been boosted by the news that the UK company has entered into a drug discovery collaboration with Roche's Genentech.

The pact will see Genentech use Vernalis’ fragment and structure-based drug discovery platform against an undisclosed target. Financial terms have not been disclosed.

Ian Garland, Vernalis chief executive, said the fact the firm has been chosen by Genentech "further endorses our market-leading fragment and structure-based drug discovery platform and validates our strategy to substantially fund our research activities through collaborations".  Investors seem impressed and at 10am, the company's share price was up more than 5.5% to nearly 21 pence.

Just before Christmas, Vernalis pocketed £400,000 after achieving a further research milestone in its drug discovery collaboration with Lundbeck and received $1.9 million as a final payment related to the sale of its Parkinson’s disease drug Apokyn (apomorphine) and US commercial operations to French drugmaker Ipsen announced in June 2008.