Five compounds in the pipeline in just five years since Professor Eva Steiness became CEO, two already in Phase II trials. And having established a stable financial base, thanks to a listing on the Oslo Axess stock exchange, Serodus is now entering a partnering mode, according to Dr. Jürgen Langhärig, VP for Business Development. He arrives at BIO-Europe in Munich with a sharp focus on initiating out-licensing discussions.
“We are interested in meeting with partners with development and commercial experience in metabolic and cardiovascular diseases. Our goal is to license out our programs globally, which is our first priority, or else to major regional companies who would continue the development, register the products and distribute them in their territory,” said Langhärig.
Dr. Jürgen Langhärig, VP Business Development, Serodus
“My particular role is to present our data and to find a cooperation structure that will allow advancing our early-to-mid stage programs, with the support of a partner. Today everyone talks about risk and de-risking. Today people talk about options deals, option-to-license deals, a deal structure that I am familiar with from my time at Bavarian Nordic. What will be important to us is to progress our programs with a partner, to define a certain value inflection point where the partner can then make a decision to in-license or trigger an option-to-license. We are looking for a commitment to co-finance the further creation of data to reach that value inflection point.”
Langhärig will present an overview of the company and its programs during a session dedicated to metabolic disease at BIO-Europe November 2–4, 2015.
Leading the young company is a serial entrepreneur with a deep experience in both biotech and pharma, Professor Eva Steiness, whose track record in starting and successfully managing companies is one of the reasons the startup Serodus so quickly won investor confidence on the Norwegian stock exchange.
“We are very, very different from traditional pharmaceutical companies, and we are built on three cornerstones,” she explained. First, the company in-licenses from universities or biotech compounds that are early stage drug candidates. Thanks to highly experienced team members, Serodus directs and advances the scientific work behind the compounds.
“This is our second strength, our people. We are a completely virtual organization of seven people sitting in seven different places. We have no laboratories of our own. We do our research collaboration by talking and planning, and then taking responsibility individually,” she said. Key to the company’s strategy is the third pillar, development of compounds as an add-on to existing treatments.
“We focus on cardiovascular and metabolic diseases where we see unmet medical needs,” said Steiness. “All our compounds have new modes of actions and with these new modes of actions, our compounds will become supplemental therapies to existing treatments. This is something that is new. Our goal both in diabetes and in cardiovascular diseases is to add on to the current compounds, thereby delay the progression of disease and the further development of complications.
“Our entire focus is on clinically unmet needs. This may seem easy to say, yet looking at our individual programs, one sees that we will not be in competition with anyone, with any compounds now on the market, because each of our compounds has a new mode of action for treating individual diseases,” she said.
“To give an example, in the area of diabetic patients, our market opportunity is not to treat all patients with Type 2 diabetes. Instead we expect our indication will be for those patients who have been treated for a long period of time and who have also been treated with anti-hypertension compounds.
“Unfortunately for these patients there is the risk of developing kidney disease that will progress and continue to worsen. Our compound SER150 for Diabetic Nephropathy comes in at this stage. A treatment for this unmet need is completely lacking and there is no competition at this stage of the disease.
“This is an example of our approach because the same principle applies to all our programs,” said Steiness. “We are not dealing with me-too compounds. This is our ambition for the company, to work in these areas where there remain unmet patient needs, to better a patient’s condition, to take them to an improved stage.”