Second setback for Vernalis
Manchester – John Hutchinson, a key figure at Vernalis, one of Britain’s bestknown biotech companies, resigned at the beginning of September to take up a new job at Renovo. The Manchester University spin-out is currently one of the highest valued British biotech companies at the stock exchange.
The firm recently signed a deal with Britain’s third largest drug maker, Shire Pharmaceuticals. The contract is worth up to €600 million and includes a codevelopment of a new antiscarring drug with Shire. Hutchinson will now oversee the clinical program for the compound known as Juvista. Shire has made an upfront payment of €90 million, which includes a cash payment and the purchase of Renovo stock. The timing of Hutchinson’s surprising move represents a fresh blow for Vernalis, whose shares dipped sharply in September after a decision from regulators in the United States to delay for the second time a decision on Frova, the company’s flagship drug for menstrual migraine.