US-based firm Purdue Pharma has gained full worldwide development and commercial rights to VM Pharma’s VM-902A, a first-in-class, orally bioavailable, peripherally acting and allosteric selective tropomyosin receptor kinase A (TrkA) inhibitor.

As part of the $213m acquisition, Purdue has also secured rights to backup compounds and associated intellectual property for the potential treatment of chronic pain.

The total acquisition amount includes an upfront payment, development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments, as well as royalties on potential sales of VM-902A.

"The TrKA mechanism and VM-902A specifically hold great promise in treating pain."

TrkA is the high-affinity receptor of nerve growth factor (NGF) and belongs to a family of signalling proteins known as tyrosine receptor kinases, which activate when selectively inhibited to provide a new therapeutic approach to address pain symptoms.

VM-902A compound has an unprecedented mechanism of action that is expected to offer strong, targeted efficacy for pain.

Purdue Pharma president and chief executive officer Mark Timney said: "The TrKA mechanism and VM-902A specifically hold great promise in treating pain.

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"This acquisition expands and diversifies our pipeline by adding a potentially innovative non-opioid, non-NSAID treatment to our portfolio."

Purdue Pharma is planning to start enrolment in Phase II clinical trial of VM-902A in early 2016. Phase I trials of VM-902A were successfully completed in 72 human subjects in single and multiple ascending dose trials.

Oppenheimer & Co acted as exclusive financial advisor and Cooley acted as legal counsel to VM Pharma, while Chadbourne & Parke was the lead outside counsel for Purdue.