Under the partnership agreement, Servier will share scientific knowledge with the teams of the two research projects conducted by the University College London (UCL), which will investigate the pathways that are pathologically altered in people with lupus, as well as how systemic sclerosis develops.
According to Servier, the scientific teams intend to investigate the mechanism of diseases such as lupus, which is a ‘poorly understood’, currently untreatable disease, with the goal of developing therapies.
“We know how the body’s immune system switches off some functions after it has responded to bouts of infection or experienced an injury,” Derek Gilroy, chair of Experimental Inflammation and Pharmacology, UCL Medicine, commented.
“We think that these internal checkpoints are altered in people who have chronic inflammatory diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer,” he continued.
The second objective of the partnership will be scleroderma, for which there are currently limited treatments available. The leader of the research team, Christopher Denton, suggested that the collaboration will help define the potential of new treatment approaches that “could have long-term impact in scleroderma, but also in many other diseases where scarring and blood vessel damage occur.”
Led by the Servier International Research Foundation, Servier holds a portfolio of 49 drug products in therapeutic areas, including cardiovascular and chronic venous diseases, oncology, neuropsychiatric disorders, and internal medicine-diseases, such as diabetes.
The company’s current research activity looks into the development of treatments for immune-inflammatory diseases including lupus, Gougerot-Sjögren syndrome and scleroderma, with the company stating that it aims to support this purpose by establishing research partnerships.
Claude Bertrand, EVP of R&D at Servier, commented that collaboration with academia is ‘one of the main levers’ of the company’s strategy, in order to contribute to scientific research in such therapeutic areas.