Irish pharmaceutical firm Allergan has signed an agreement to acquire clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company Naurex for around $560m.
Allergan will pay $460m upon closing of the deal, while $100m will be paid by January 2016. The deal will also comprise potential R&D success-based and sales-threshold milestone payments.
Naurex is involved in developing transformative therapies for challenging disorders of the central nervous system (CNS).
Allergan CEO and president Brent Saunders said: "Naurex’s unique pipeline comprises compounds that utilise a new mechanism to target areas of significant unmet medical need in major depressive disorder (MDD), including severe and/or treatment-resistant depression."
Naurex’s discovery platform comprises N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor modulators, including subtype-selective molecules that can treat a wide range of psychiatric and neurologic disorders.
The deal will also include addition of Naurex’s lead development product rapastinel (GLYX-13), a once-weekly intravenous Phase III-ready molecule that showed efficacy in multiple Phase II clinical studies in depression, into Allergan portfolio.
Rapastinel is a novel NMDA receptor modulator that is being developed as an adjunctive treatment for difficult-to-treat major depressive disorder.
Allergan’s portfolio will also include another next-generation drug candidate, NRX-1074, which is under development. It is also an orally bioavailable drug candidate that is in Phase I studies.
The NRX-1074 intravenous form demonstrated antidepressant efficacy in an initial single-dose Phase II study, said Allergan.
Naurex president and CEO Norbert Riedel said: "We recognised that Allergan’s deep commitment and experience in mental health position them particularly well to progress these programmes through further clinical development and into commercialisation."
Subject to customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to complete by the end of this year.