Lundbeck Acquires Abide Therapeutics for $250M, Gains San Diego Discovery Site

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With a $250 million cash down payment, Denmark’s H. Lundbeck A/S snapped up San Diego-based Abide Therapeutics to gain a novel discovery platform and a U.S.-based research hub.

Deborah Dunsire, president and chief executive officer of Lundbeck said the acquisition of Abide provides the company 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.” Dunsire said Abide’s research and development program provides both an immediate and long-term boost to its pipeline. Bringing Abide under the Lundbeck portfolio puts the Danish company in a position to deliver multiple new and transformative treatments for brain diseases, Dunsire said in a statement.

In its announcement, Lundbeck did not provide details regarding the 40 employees at Abide, including its leadership team. Kevin Finney, who joined Abide in January as president and chief operating officer, told Xconomy that the company had actually been in the midst of a financing round and eying an initial public offering when the Lundbeck offer came along. The deal was too good to pass up, Finney said, according to the report.

Abide Chief Executive Officer Alan Ezekowitz noted Lundbeck’s commitment to developing therapies for the brain and said it was that expertise that convinced the company’s board of directors to support the deal. Lundbeck, he said, “was the best way to attain Abide’s goal to develop novel therapeutics that make a fundamental difference in the lives of patients with a range of neurological and mood disorders.” Ezekowitz added that Lundbeck’s support for the La Jolla discovery site means that we can continue to leverage the insights of co-founder Ben Cravatt’s laboratory at Scripps Research and maintain its “outstanding discovery team.”

What attracted Lundbeck to acquiring Abide is that company’s lead molecule, ABX-1431. Abide’s ABX-1431 is a potent selective inhibitor of the serine hydrolase monoacylglycerol lipase (MGLL). ABX-1431 is designed to increase the power of endocannabinoid signaling to restore homeostatic balance in the central nervous system. The company believes it has the potential to address multiple indications in psychiatry and neurology. ABX-1431 is currently in an exploratory Phase IIa trial for the treatment of Tourette syndrome and a Phase I trial for neuropathic pain. In addition to the clinical and pre-clinical programs targeting MGLL, Abide has a rich pipeline of inhibitors targeting other serine hydrolases that may be pursued as future novel treatments.

In addition to the $250 million paid upfront to Abide, Lundbeck will also pay an additional $150 million in future development and sales milestones. After the deal closes, Abide’s laboratory in La Jolla will become a U.S. drug discovery hub for Lundbeck. Lundbeck is covering the costs of the acquisition of Abide from its existing cash reserves. The transaction is expected to close during the second quarter of 2019. Lundbeck said the deal will not have any impact on Lundbeck’s 2019 financial guidance range provided in February 2019.

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