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Lundbeck signs $1.1bn deal for Prexton and Parkinson’s drug

Foliglurax is currently in phase II testing for LID, muscle stiffness and ‘freezing’

Lundbeck

Lundbeck bolstered its R&D pipeline ahead of the weekend with a €900m ($1.1bn) deal to acquire Prexton Therapeutics and its mid-stage Parkinson’s disease (PD) candidate foliglurax.

The agreement, which includes an upfront payment of €100m and up to €805m in development and sales milestones, gives Lundbeck what it says is a first-in-class, oral glutamate mGluR4 positive allosteric modulator in a phase II trial for PD. The drug is Prexton’s only clinical asset.

It’s the first deal for Lundbeck under interim CEO Anders Götzsche, who took over the helm of the company after former CEO Kåre Schultz was poached by Teva last September.

Foliglurax (also known as PTX002331) is being tested as a treatment for levodopa induced dyskinesia (LID) or movement disorders in PD patients, as well as ‘off’ episodes - the muscle stiffness, slow movements, and difficulty starting movements known as 'freezing' that can occur between doses of Parkinson’s drugs.

Lundbeck says data from the phase II trial is due early next year, while a second trial is also in the planning stages according to clinicaltrials.gov.

“Foliglurax addresses high unmet needs with its potential indication in Parkinson's fitting perfectly within Lundbeck's core areas and this treatment option also appears to be highly interesting for patients, physicians and payers,” said Götzsche.

Prexton was set up in 2012 as a spin-out from Merck Serono’s R&D operations following the closure of its Geneva R&D centre. Its former parent backed the start-up with cash - via its M Ventures investment group - as well as mGluR3 and mGluR4 programmes and since then it has gone through two funding rounds, raising €8.7m in a Series A in 2015 and €29m in a Series B last year.

The Danish drugmaker is already a big player in neurology and psychological diseases, and PD is a core focus for the company which has suffered some pipeline setbacks of late, including the failure of Alzheimer’s candidate idalopirdine.

It sells Azilect (rasagiline) - which has been available since 2005 and latterly has started to be affected by generic competition - as well as older, niche drug Parkinsan (budipine).

Article by
Phil Taylor

19th March 2018

From: Sales

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