Swiss research powers Indian pharma giant dealflow

Since its implementation in La Chaux-de-Fonds in canton Neuchâtel in 2004, the biotechnology research center of Indian leading pharmaceutical company Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has grown to 50 people employed today. Working closely with the University of Neuchâtel and the Swiss Institute of Technology of Lausanne (EPFL), those researchers are at the genesis of a discovery that has just triggered a major deal for their parent company with Sanofi-aventisBoth companies have entered into an agreement to grant the French giant pharmaceutical company a license for the development and commercialisation of highly innovative novel agents to treat chronic pain. Biologically, pain is a subtle phenomenon. The detection of painful stimuli occurs primarily at the peripheral terminals of specialised sensory neurons. These small-diameter neurons transduce signals of a chemical, mechanical, or thermal nature into action potentials and transmit this information to the central nervous system, eliciting a perception of pain or discomfort.

Glenmark has developed chemical molecules that are antagonist for vanilloid receptors, an excitory ion channels expressed by those terminals of neurons involved in pain sensation. In particular, one of those chemical molecules (GRC 15300) is currently in clinical development as a potential next generation treatment for various pain conditions. “This is a first-in-class molecule targeting unmet medical need for various pain conditions, including diabetic neuropathic pain and osteoarthritic pain”, explains Dr Michael Buschle, president Biologics Glenmark Pharmaceuticals in La  Chaux-de-Fonds. Working in collaboration with the other R&D centers of the company in the UK and India, the Swiss team has proved instrumental in the discovery and development of new molecules. “Most importantly after we have signed this landmark deal, Glenmark Switzerland will be involved completely in the alliance management with Sanofi-aventis”, adds Buschle.Upfront and milestone payments

The deal with SanofiAventi is potentially worth 325 million dollars which will be in terms of upfront and milestone payments as the development of the molecule progresses in clinical trials till commercialisation. In addition, Glenmark is eligible to receive tiered double-digit royalties on sales of products commercialised under the license. Sanofi-aventis will have exclusive marketing rights for North America, European Union and Japan subject to Glenmark’s right to co-promote the products in the United States and five Eastern European countries. Sanofi-aventis will also have co-marketing rights in ten other countries including Brazil, Russia, and China, whereas Glenmark will retain exclusive rights in India and other countries of the rest of the world.


“Glenmark is eligible to receive tiered double-digit royalties” Dr. Michael Buschle, president Biologics Glenmark Pharmaceuticals

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