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Teva buys into Heptares oral CGRP programme for migraine

Signs$410m alliance for early-stage candidates in potentially-lucrative drug class

TevaTeva will co-develop Heptares Pharma's portfolio of migraine therapies in a new alliance valued at up to $410m.

The agreement - which includes a $10m upfront payment from Teva to Heptares - covers a series of small-molecule calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) antagonists, all of which are currently in preclinical development with phase I trials due next year.

CGRP is a neurotransmitter that is elevated during migraine attacks and is thought to trigger attacks in some patients. Blocking the peptide activity has shown promise for relieving pain as well as for preventing migraines.

UK-based Heptares - which was acquired by Japan's Sosei Therapeutics in February in a $400m deal including $180m upfront - is eligible to receive additional research, development and commercialisation milestone payments of up to $400m.

The orally-active candidates will complement Teva's own CGRP programme, led by TEV-48125, an injectable antibody in phase III trials. Teva is in a race to bring the first drug in this class to market with Amgen, whose AMG334 antibody candidate is a little behind in phase II. 

Merck & Co was another player in the field until July when it sold rights to its MK-1602 antibody - also in phase II trials - to Allergan for $250m in cash, along with oral candidates in early-stage development. Other developers include Eli Lilly and Alder Biopharmaceuticals.

There has not been a new class of anti-migraine drugs since the development and marketing of triptans in the early 1990s, but while these can treat attacks they are not very effective for prevention.

Some analysts have suggested the drug which wins out in the CGRP inhibitor race could achieve sales upwards of $1.25bn a year, with others predicting the class as a whole could be worth several billion dollars a year at peak.

Article by
Phil Taylor

27th November 2015

From: Research

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