Lundbeck Acquires Prexton Therapeutics

Partnership Shaking Hands

Denmark-based H. Lundbeck A/S dropped €100 million in upfront money, or about $123 million, to acquire Prexton Therapeutics, a 2012 spinout from Merck KGaA, and its Phase II treatment for Parkinson’s disease.

In its announcement, Lundbeck called Prexton’s experimental compound foliglurax an attractive product. Foliglurax is in Phase II testing for the symptomatic treatment of Off-time reduction in Parkinson’s disease and dyskinesia including Levodopa Induced Dyskinesia (LID). First data from the ongoing clinical Phase II program is expected to be available during the first half of 2019, the company said.

Anders Götzsche, who was named interim chief executive officer at Lundbeck in October, said the acquisition will provide Lundbeck full control of the future of foliglurax.

Foliglurax addresses high unmet needs with its potential indication in Parkinson’s fitting perfectly within Lundbeck’s core areas and this treatment option also appears to be highly interesting for patients, physicians and payers,” Götzsche said in a statement.

Foliglurax, formerly referred to as PTX002331, is a small-molecule positive allosteric modulator of group III metabotropic glutamate receptor 4 (mGluR4 PAM). The medication works by stimulating mGluR4 in order to activate a compensatory neuronal system in the brain which is largely unaffected in Parkinson’s disease. The aim of the medication is to treat the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, such as resting tremor, muscle rigidity and uncontrolled movements (dyskinesia), the company said.

The Phase II trial, which began in 2017, will add foliglurax to standard care of treatment, including medications such as levodopa, with the idea that the combination will better control Parkinson’s disease. The primary goal of the Phase II trial is to assess efficacy, safety and tolerability of foliglurax in reducing motor complications of levodopa therapy in patients experiencing end-of-dose wearing-off and levodopa-induced dyskinesia. The primary outcome measure will be the change in the daily awake “OFF”-time of the disease.

People diagnosed with Parkinson’s often deal with times classified as “ON” and “OFF.” OFF periods are characterized by the reemergence of Parkinson’s symptoms. In OFF times, which CVT-301 addresses, patients experience periods of decreased mobility. Over the course of the disease, patients OFF periods in patients can increase in frequency and severity. The “ON” time refers to when patients are responding to medication and symptoms are decreased.

The company completed a Phase I trial in 2016. Results showed that the Prexton compound was well-tolerated and had a satisfactory pharmacokinetic profile.

In addition to the upfront money Lundbeck paid, if certain developmental and commercial milestones are met the Danish company will be responsible for paying Prexton a possible €805 million, or about $992 million. Lundbeck said the deal will have no influence on the company’s financial guidance for 2018.

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