Lundbeck adds a Parkinson's flop to its list of setbacks, writing off a $1.1 billion deal on mid-stage failure
Anders Götzsche’s shot at R&D glory has ended in defeat at Lundbeck.
The Lundbeck CFO was acting chief when he struck a $1.1 billion deal to snare Prexton Therapeutics and its single asset — foliglurax — after Kåre Schultz jumped ship to run Teva. Götzsche agreed to pay €100m in cash and up to €805m in development and sales milestones to get the one-drug company.
It proved to be a bust in Phase IIa, though, with no significant difference in “off” times for patients or any separation from placebo for dyskinesia, a key secondary. Those “off” periods are marked by physical freezing or slowing of motor functions.
Now, the cash payment is being written off and the drug is headed to the scrap heap, where it joins a funeral mound of CNS drugs at Lundbeck, now run by CEO Deborah Dunsire. Dunsire is focused on marketing their newly approved CGRP migraine drug, obtained in a $2 billion deal to acquire Alder.
Lundbeck is focused on one of the toughest fields in R&D, and has the history to prove it. Setbacks in bipolar disease and schizophrenia have hampered the R&D plan. But it’s a high-risk, high-reward field.
Prexton founder François Conquet spent his entire career focused on the role of glutamate receptors for CNS diseases. He founded Addex back in 2002 and ran it for three years, leaving it with an mGluR5 program — dipraglurant — for Parkinson’s. And at Prexton he focused in mGluR4 as an alternative approach to using dopamine to control the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s.
Just days ago Addex reported that their dipraglurant Phase II/III study was being indefinitely postponed, as the patients were at high risk from Covid-19 and needed to remain in quarantine.