Medivir AB (MVRBF), headquartered in Stockholm, Sweden, announced today that it will restructure its Discovery Research department, narrowing its focus to oncology and infectious diseases.

In addition, it announced a partnership with gvk bioSciences Private Limited, located in Hyderabad, India.

The partnership is designed with the expectation that it will improve quality and efficiency. It will consolidate all current outsourced synthetic chemistry into a single facility located on GVK BIO’s Integrated Discovery Research Campus. An additional 20 scientific employees will be added to increase work there.

In addition, Medivir is bailing out of the neuropathic pain area. This is in response to negative findings in a non-clinical safety study of MIV-247. MIV-247 is a highly selective inhibitor of cathepsin S, a protease that helps maintain a neuropathic pain state. In October 2014 the company presented promising data on the drug at the 15th World Congress on Pain in Buenos Aires. Since then Medivir has decided to abandon the medication and the neuropathic pain field entirely.

This change will result in about 10 job losses of scientific staff at Medivir facilities in Sweden and the U.K.

“We continue to assess all aspects of the productivity and cost-effectiveness of our businesses in order to drive innovation and maximize share-holder value,” said Niklas Prager, chief executive officer of Medivir in a statement.

“This reorganization and resource optimization will improve efficiency and enhance our ability to deliver well-differentiated candidate drugs into our development pipeline while over time reducing overall research costs and improving cost flexibility, and we look forward to a productive partnership with our colleagues at GVK BIO.”

Medivir stock dropped a bit on the news, currently selling for 72.50 Swedish Krona (SEK). It was selling for 73.75 SEK earlier in the day. Overall the company’s stock has been on a significant downward trend from a high of 132.53 SEK on July 14, 2014 to its current low.

The company noted in its first quarterly report that it had inked a collaboration pact with Cancer Research Technology (CRT) to try and develop a new class of cancer drugs. Those drugs would focus on ADAM8, a protein linked to tumor survival, cell invasion and metastasis. CRT is the commercial development division of Cancer Research UK.

The company also highlighted its work in infectious diseases, specifically hepatitis C, with is compound MIV-802, which began non-clinical development in the first quarter of 2015. Data was presented on April 23 at The International Liver Congress. The company also has a hepatitis C drug, Olysio (simeprevir) on the market, which generated SEK 129 million in the first quarter of 2015.

June 16, 2015
By Mark Terry, Breaking News Staff