On October 31, 2021 Vernalis Research ("Vernalis"), a fully owned subsidiary of HitGen Inc., and Hannibal Innovation ApS ("Hannibal") reported the creation of Dania Therapeutics ApS ("Dania") to discover small molecules inhibitors against new undisclosed oncology targets (Press release, Vernalis, OCT 31, 2021, View Source;a-Fully-Owned-Subsidiary-of-HitGen-Inc—and-Hannibal-Innovation-Announce-the-Creation-of-Dania-Therapeutics-ApS [SID1234593971]).
Dania’s new discovery program is based on the work from Professor Kristian Helin at University of Copenhagen. Prof. Helin and Dr. Karl Agger, from his laboratory, are the scientific founders of Dania.
Under the terms of the agreement, Vernalis will use its expertise in drug discovery to undertake all activities up to lead optimization and invest in Dania. Vernalis has the option to fund further discovery activities until the nomination of a preclinical candidate. The team at Hannibal will run operations for Dania throughout the initial stages of the collaboration.
Mike Wood – Managing Director at Vernalis – will join the Board of Dania. Hamed Brodersen and Karin Absalonsen from Hannibal will act as CEO and Chair of the Board of directors, respectively. Kim Andersen joins as COO of Dania.
"We are extremely pleased to work with Kristian Helin and Hannibal on such exciting targets. This innovative business model where Vernalis trades the usual cash and milestones payments for equity demonstrates Vernalis’ confidence in its expertise and its ability to collaborate with talented scientists and successful entrepreneurs," said Mike Wood – Managing Director at Vernalis, "and we have been impressed by the quality of the work from Kristian and the track record from the team at Hannibal in creating and nurturing successful biotech companies."
"We are very excited about the creation of Dania, and the collaboration with Hannibal and Vernalis in starting the company," said Kristian Helin. "We are looking forward to our continued collaboration and the development of new inhibitors to the oncology targets, identified in my lab at University of Copenhagen."
"Hannibal wants to be the go-to partner for scientists and research institutions that stand out in the industry because of the depth and quality of their scientific work. It is an honor for us to work with Kristian Helin in bringing new breakthroughs in science to underserved patients. We are also thrilled to work with Vernalis, which has an excellent track record in structure-based drug discovery, a strong management team and visionary owners. Hannibal’s business model is to establish strong partnerships with innovative approaches to business development. We look forward to shaping the industry together with Kristian and Vernalis," said Hamed Brodersen, CEO of Hannibal.
"I am delighted to see this new joint venture between Vernalis and Hannibal. The establishment of Dania demonstrates Vernalis’ strength in discovery research and innovative business thinking. Since the completion of acquisition at the end of 2020, Vernalis has already contributed to HitGen group’s topline. The research teams from Vernalis and HitGen Chengdu have also worked closely to progress the synergistic opportunities in our core technology platforms – DNA-encoded Libraries (DEL) and Fragment-Based Drug Discovery/Structure-Based Drug Design (FBDD/SBDD). I wish the new venture every success in its discovery research endeavor," said Dr. Jin Li, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of HitGen.