CASTRES, France and BASEL, Switzerland, Sept. 12, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Pierre Fabre Laboratories, the French pharmaceutical and dermo-cosmetic company, announced the acquisition of Vertical Bio AG, a developer of novel cancer therapies. This first acquisition of a biotechnology company allows Pierre Fabre Laboratories to add VERT-002 to its oncology discovery pipeline. VERT-002 is a monoclonal antibody with a novel and differentiated mechanism of action, acting as a degrader of c-MET. This target is a known disease driver in patients suffering from Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) with mutations or amplification of MET. Deal terms were not disclosed.
Vertical Bio was founded by Versant Ventures and was launched out of the firm’s Ridgeline Discovery Engine based in Basel, Switzerland. Leveraging Ridgeline’s biology capabilities, Vertical Bio advanced VERT-002 through preclinical studies and towards an IND submission. The first-in-human studies are expected to begin in 2024.
This acquisition enables Pierre Fabre Laboratories to further strengthen their R&D portfolio in precision oncology with a product about to enter clinical development. In line with its innovation strategy, the Group has made oncology its top priority in medical care and dedicates every year circa 80% of its R&D spendings to this therapeutic area. In 2022, the Oncology Franchise achieved revenues of 467 M€, a sharp 221% increase vs 2019 revenues.
Pierre Fabre Laboratories have a long history in the treatment of lung cancers, dating back to the 90’s with the launch of their first chemotherapy. Earlier this year, a collaboration agreement was signed with Scorpion Therapeutics to co-develop and commercialize two candidates for patients with EGFR-mutant NSCLC. And through its longstanding partnership with Pfizer, the company expects to harness soon the full potential of a promising clinical development program in NSCLC.
“We are excited about the acquisition of this biotechnology company and the addition of VERT-002 to reinforce our research and development portfolio in lung cancer. This acquisition is another testimony of our commitment to invest in the discovery and development of innovative treatments in precision oncology” said Eric Ducournau, Chief Executive Officer of Pierre Fabre Laboratories.
“We are proud of the rapid progress that Vertical Bio made in developing its lead antibody, which represents a potential new option for patients with difficult-to-treat forms of lung cancer,” said Alex Mayweg, Ph.D., chairman of Vertical Bio and managing director at Versant. “Pierre Fabre Laboratories are an ideal partner to take VERT-002 into the clinic and we look forward to the to the continued progress of this differentiated molecule.”
VERT-002, an antibody targeting c-MET that leads to its degradation, with potential as best-in-class therapeutic option for patients with MET alterations, including resistance settings.
VERT-002 is currently completing IND-enabling studies and Vertical Bio expects to begin first in human studies in 2024.
About Pierre Fabre Laboratories
Pierre Fabre Laboratories is a leading French medical and beauty care company with over 4 decades of experience in innovation, development, manufacturing, and commercialization in oncology. The company dedicated about 80% of its R&D spendings to oncology in 2022 and has declared targeted therapies as its main R&D priority. Its current commercial portfolio in oncology covers colorectal, breast and lung cancers, melanoma, hematology, and pre-cancerous skin conditions like actinic keratosis.
In 2022, Pierre Fabre Laboratories posted 2.7 billion euros in revenues, 69% of which came from international sales in 120 countries. Established in the South-West of France since its creation in 1962, the Group manufactures over 90% of its products in France and employs some 9,600 people worldwide. The company is 86%-owned by the Pierre Fabre Foundation, a government-recognized public-interest foundation, and secondarily by its own employees through an international employee stock ownership plan. Pierre Fabre Laboratories’ sustainability policy has been assessed by the independent AFNOR Certification body at the “Exemplary” level of its CSR label (ISO 26 000 standard for sustainable development).
Further information about Pierre Fabre Laboratories can be found at www.pierre-fabre.com, @PierreFabre.
About Vertical Bio
Vertical Bio is a biotechnology company developing a novel antibody to treat certain forms of cancer. The company was founded by Versant Ventures and launched out of the firm’s Ridgeline Discovery Engine based in Basel, Switzerland.
Pierre Fabre Laboratories: