Six years after a team of glutamate receptor specialists spun out of the wreckage left behind by Merck KGaA’s retreat from Geneva and launched Prexton Therapeutics, Lundbeck is swooping in to buy the company and its mid-stage Parkinson’s drug. Lundbeck is handing over $123 million and committing to about a billion dollars more in milestones — with more than half of that tied to sales goals.
Lundbeck is spending its money on a single asset: foliglurax.
Prexton CEO 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 — now in a late-stage study 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.
He told me last year that he was running two studies, one in Europe on Parkinson’s symptoms and the other in the US for levodopa-induced dyskinesia.
Lundbeck has had some painful setbacks in neurosciences recently, with some new failures on Alzheimer’s to report. Its CEO Kåre Schultz also jumped ship to take the helm of a storm-tossed Teva last fall.
Anders Götzsche, interim CEO and CFO at Lundbeck, noted:
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 payors.
Merck Ventures helped launch the company and Forbion and Seroba Life Sciences stepped in to co-lead a $31 million round early last year.
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