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Vernalis Research, a fully owned subsidiary of HitGen Inc., and Contera Pharma A/S announce a strategic collaboration in the field of RNA-targeting small molecules in neurology

CAMBRIDGE, England and COPENHAGEN, Denmark, Sept. 28, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Vernalis Research (“Vernalis”), a fully owned subsidiary of HitGen Inc., and Contera Pharma A/S (“Contera”) are pleased to announce a strategic drug discovery collaboration on an undisclosed target.

Under the terms of the agreement, Vernalis and Contera will use their respective expertise in fragment and structure-based drug design and RNA-based drug development within neuroscience to design small molecules against a particularly challenging target for a rare neurologic disorder. All costs of activities until a predefined milestone will be shared between the partners. Should that first stage of the collaboration be successful, the partners will have the option to extend the collaboration and Vernalis will be entitled to receive research funding, downstream milestones and royalties on candidates resulting from the partnership. Contera will be responsible for development and commercialization of these candidates. The partners also have the option to extend the collaboration beyond the initial target.

Mike Wood, Managing Director of Vernalis said: “This strategic partnership marks the entry of Vernalis into the exciting field of RNA-targeting small molecules. We are extremely pleased to work with Contera on this promising target and we look forward to expanding our collaboration to multiple targets in the field of neurology.”

Kenneth Vielsted Christensen, CSO of Contera, said: “We are pleased to announce this agreement which marks the expansion of our drug discovery efforts within the exciting field of RNA therapeutics. RNA-targeting small molecules is an area of high attention and entering this field will allow us to broaden both our target and indication space. The partnership with Vernalis, which is at the forefront of drug discovery innovation, enables us to drug previously undruggable neurology targets by adding small molecules targeting RNA to our existing in-house ASO and siRNA capabilities. Vernalis, a world leader in drug discovery, is a strong partner and the perfect match for us in our efforts to discover and develop novel RNA therapeutics for patients suffering from neurological disorders.”

Dr. Jin Li, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of HitGen Inc., commented: “It is pleasing to see this collaboration between Vernalis and Contera. Targeting RNAs by small molecules or RNAi has become an exciting approach to developing innovative medicines for many diseases affecting human health. The technologies and expertise available at Vernalis and HitGen are highly relevant in this field. I look forward to seeing further progress from the collaboration.”

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