Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck has signed a $400m definitive agreement to acquire US-based Abide Therapeutics.

The deal involves an upfront payment of $250m and up to $150m in potential development and sales milestones in the future.

Abide Therapeutics uses its chemo-proteomic platform discovery platform to identify potent and selective inhibitors of serine hydrolase enzymes, which play a key role in multiple pathophysiological processes such as nervous system signalling, blood clotting, digestion and cancer.

The company is focused on compounds to treat a variety of central nervous system (CNS) diseases.

“Abide’s innovative R&D platform provides us with a unique opportunity to strengthen our pipeline now and well into the future.”

The company’s lead molecule ABX-1431 is designed to inhibit serine hydrolase monoacylglycerol lipase (MGLL) and potentiate endocannabinoid signalling to restore homeostatic balance in the CNS.

The molecule is believed to possess the capability to help in different psychiatry and neurology indications.

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ABX-1431 is currently being studied in exploratory Phase IIa clinical trial for Tourette syndrome and in Phase I study to treat neuropathic pain.

Abide Therapeutics’ pipeline also includes other clinical and pre-clinical programmes targeting MGLL, as well as additional inhibitors that target other serine hydrolases. All the programmes are intended for treating neurological and/or psychiatric conditions.

Lundbeck expects the acquisition to add a new discovery platform to its portfolio, along with a US-based research hub.

Lundbeck president and CEO Deborah Dunsire said: “The acquisition of Abide provides us with a differentiated chemo-proteomic platform to discover new classes of drugs for a broad spectrum of brain diseases starting with those that harness the therapeutic potential of the endocannabinoid system.

“Abide’s innovative R&D platform provides us with a unique opportunity to strengthen our pipeline now and well into the future, putting Lundbeck in position to deliver multiple new and transformative treatments for brain diseases.”

Subject to customary regulatory approvals, the deal is expected to complete during the second quarter of this year.

After closing, Abide Therapeutics’ laboratory in La Jolla, California, will be leveraged as Lundbeck’s drug discovery hub in the US.