Allergan to buy Naurex for US$560m

Builds on Allergan's leading position in treatments for mental health disorders

Allergan is to buy Naurex, a US biopharmaceutical company developing therapies for disorders of the central nervous system, for US$560m.

Under the terms of the agreement, Dublin, Ireland-based drugmaker Allergan will pay $460m on closure and a further $100m by January next year (or upon the closing if the closing has not occurred by then), as well as potential R&D success-based and sales-threshold milestone payments for Naurex's experimental antidepressants.

The acquisition will add Naurex's leading N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptors rapastinel (GLYX-13), a once-weekly intravenous Phase III-ready molecule, and NRX-1074, a next-generation drug candidate, the intravenous form of which has shown antidepressant efficacy in an initial single-dose Phase II study. NRX-1074 is also an orally bioavailable drug candidate which is in Phase 1 studies.

The deal will also see Naurex's discovery platform spun out into a new company just before the transaction closes.

Allergan and this new company will enter into a research collaboration focused on the discovery and early development of innovative small molecule NMDA receptor modulators for the treatment of certain psychiatric and neurologic disorders. Allergan will receive first right to in-licence a defined number of drug candidates resulting from the collaboration for certain indications.

'Rapastinel and NRX-1074 offer the potential for faster onset of action, equal or greater efficacy and a more favorable safety and tolerability profile than traditional anti-depressants,' said David Nicholson, EVP and President of Global Brands Research and Development for Allergan.

'If approved, they will provide a significant and complementary addition to our world-class CNS and mental health portfolio. Our ongoing research collaboration will also position us to continue to leverage Naurex's innovative drug discovery platform to drive further long-term value and provide patients with needed treatment options in this important therapeutic area.'

News of the deal came the day before Teva announced that it was going to buy Allergan's generics business for $40.5bn (see separate story).

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