Biogen Idec to buy Convergence Pharmaceuticals

Expanding its neuropathic pain portfolio

US biotechnology company Biogen Idec is to expand its pain portfolio with the acquisition of UK-based Convergence Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with a portfolio of ion channel-modulating product candidates for treating neuropathic pain.

Biogen Idec said it would pay Convergence shareholders an upfront payment of US$200m; they are also eligible to receive an additional $475m for the achievement of future development milestones.

The acquisition is centred on the development of Convergence’s Phase II clinical candidate CNV1014802, a potential treatment for trigeminal neuralgia (TGN), a chronic orphan disease consisting of debilitating, episodic facial pain, which recently had positive results from proof of concept trials.

CNV1014802 is a novel small molecule state-dependent sodium channel blocker that inhibits Nav 1.7 ion channels, which are genetically validated targets for pain in humans.

The product has also demonstrated proof of concept for treating pain associated with lumbosacral radiculopathy, more commonly known as sciatica, and has potential applicability in several other neuropathic pain states.

Neuropathic pain is an area of significant unmet need and represents a natural complement to our current neurology portfolio

Convergence will continue to operate from Cambridge, UK, under the leadership of its Chief Scientific Officer, Simon Tate.

The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.

'Neuropathic pain is an area of significant unmet need and represents a natural complement to our current neurology portfolio,' said Douglas Williams, Executive Vice President of Research and Development at Biogen Idec.

'The team at Convergence has pioneered some of the most innovative science in pain management. We believe their industry-leading talent, capabilities and pipeline of candidates, starting with CNV1014802, will provide a strong foundation upon which to expand our neuropathic pain portfolio.'

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