Ipsen enters into option agreement to acquire Canbex Therapeutics
Ipsen (Euronext: IPN; ADR: IPSEY) and Canbex Therapeutics Ltd (Canbex) today announced that Canbex has granted Ipsen an option giving Ipsen the exclusive right to purchase 100% of Canbex shares upon completion of the Phase IIa study of Canbex’s lead candidate for the treatment of spasticity in people with multiple sclerosis (MS), known as VSN16R. Canbex is a spin-off of University College London (UCL) that raised a Series A financing of GBP 2.3 million in 2013 from MS Ventures (the corporate venture arm of Merck Serono, Merck KGaA), the Wellcome Trust and UCL Business Plc (UCLB).
VSN16R is a novel, orally active small molecule compound intended for the treatment of spasticity in MS and other disorders. Preclinical and Phase I clinical studies have demonstrated that VSN16R has the potential to provide substantially better patient care than existing systemic anti-spastic treatments. Spasticity is a debilitating and painful symptom of MS that consists of involuntary spasms of limbs and torso musculature. With VSN16R, Canbex aims to set a new standard in the treatment of spasticity, and to improve the lives of people worldwide with this serious and incurable disorder.
VSN16R was shown to be safe and well tolerated in its Phase I clinical safety trial. In the Phase I study, 72 healthy volunteers were enrolled in a placebo-controlled, single ascending- and multiple-ascending dose design.
Marc de Garidel, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Ipsen stated “Ipsen is delighted to enter into a partnership with the UK biotech company Canbex. Their lead compound has demonstrated excellent safety, efficacy and tolerability to date and fits well within our neurology franchise. Indeed, it could be a valuable companion product to Dysport® in the treatment of spasticity. The agreement with Canbex also reflects our ambition to maintain our business development efforts to complement organic growth.”
Dr Keith Powell, Chairman of Canbex commented “Canbex is excited to be working with Ipsen, because of its leading expertise in spasticity and its commitment to providing better treatments. Ipsen is excellently placed to help bring our promising new medication to patients in this important and poorly served medical need.”
Dr Anne Lane, Executive Director of UCLB commented “It has been extremely rewarding for UCLB to be part of Canbex’s successful clinical development programme to date. This programme showcases once again the wealth of opportunity that lies within UCL’s research base, and is a result of a coordinated effort between a team of driven individuals, institutions and investors alike. Central to this success is the continued commitment offered by UCLB, in exploiting the powerful working partnership it has with UCL to bring exciting innovative technology to the market place to the benefit of patients and society at large.”
Under the financial terms of the agreement, Ipsen has paid an option fee of €6 million1 to Canbex. If Ipsen elects to exercise its option to acquire Canbex at the end of the proof of concept Phase IIa study, Canbex’s shareholders will be eligible to receive a total of up to an additional €90 million2, comprising an acquisition payment, and additional milestone payments contingent upon launch subsequent to achievement of clinical and regulatory success. In addition, Canbex shareholders will be eligible to receive royalties on world-wide annual net sales of VSN16R.
Ipsen is a global specialty-driven pharmaceutical company with total sales exceeding €1.2 billion in 2014. Ipsen’s ambition is to become a leader in specialty healthcare solutions for targeted debilitating diseases. Its development strategy is supported by 3 franchises: neurology, endocrinology and uro-oncology. Moreover, the Group has an active policy of partnerships. Ipsen’s R&D is focused on its innovative and differentiated technological platforms, peptides and toxins. In 2013, R&D expenditure totaled close to €260 million, representing more than 21% of Group sales. Moreover, Ipsen also has a significant presence in primary care. The Group has close to 4,600 employees worldwide. Ipsen’s shares are traded on segment A of Euronext Paris (stock code: IPN, ISIN code: FR0010259150) and eligible to the “Service de Règlement Différé” (“SRD”). The Group is part of the SBF 120 index. Ipsen has implemented a Sponsored Level I American Depositary Receipt (ADR) program, which trade on the over-the-counter market in the United States under the symbol IPSEY.
For more information on Ipsen, visit: www.ipsen.com
Canbex is a spin-out of University College London (UCL) that was established to develop its proprietary VSN compound series in spasticity and other unmet medical needs. In addition to its pioneering scientific founders and clinical advisors, Canbex has assembled a skilled and focused management team. Development activities are carried out through leading CROs and CMOs. The company’s capital efficiency and lean management strategy ensure that funds are deployed directly to compound development. Investors include the Wellcome Trust, MS Ventures, Fast Forward LLC, UCL Business Plc and Esperante.
UCL Business PLC (UCLB) is a leading technology transfer company that supports and commercialises research and innovations arising from UCL, one of the UK’s top research-led universities. UCLB has a successful track record and a strong reputation for identifying and protecting promising new technologies and innovations from UCL academics. UCLB has a strong track record in commercialising medical technologies and provides technology transfer services to UCL’s associated hospitals; University College London Hospitals, Moorfields Eye Hospital, Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children and the Royal Free London Hospital. It invests directly in development projects to maximise the potential of the research and manages the commercialisation process of technologies from laboratory to market.
For further information, please visit: www.uclb.com
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1 c.$6.8 million
2 c.$103 million