US-based Lexicon Pharmaceuticals and Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMS) have selected a development candidate for neuropathic pain, under their neuroscience drug discovery and development alliance.
Both firms will advance the development candidate through IND-enabling studies to prepare for the commencement of clinical trials.
Under the deal, BMS is eligible to receive exclusive clinical development and commercialisation rights upon the initiation of Phase I clinical studies, subject to the payment of milestones and royalties to Lexicon.
Lexicon Pharmaceuticals president and CEO Lonnel Coats said: "The selection of this very promising drug candidate for neuropathic pain marks the culmination of a long-standing and highly productive collaborative effort between Lexicon and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
"We look forward to bringing innovation from this novel mechanism to patients in an area of high unmet need."
The companies entered a drug discovery alliance in December 2003 to discover, develop and commercialise small molecule drugs in the field of neuroscience.
Lexicon started the collaboration with multiple neuroscience drug discovery programmes at various stages of development and used its gene knockout technologies to identify additional drug targets with promise in the neuroscience field.
Both firms are working together on an exclusive basis to identify, characterise and carry out the nonclinical development of small molecule drugs.
BMS will have the first option to take full responsibility for clinical development and commercialisation, as drugs resulting from the alliance enter clinical trials.
As part of the deal, Lexicon received $86m in upfront payments and research funding during the target discovery portion of the alliance, which expired in October 2009.
It is also eligible to receive clinical and regulatory milestone payments up to $76m for each drug developed by BMS under the alliance. In addition, it will receive royalties on sales of drugs commercialised by BMS.
Image: Entrance to the Bristol-Myers Squibb site at Reeds Lane, Moreton, Wirral, England. Photo: courtesy of Rept0n1x.