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Biogen Idec buys Convergence

Published on 14/01/15 at 01:35pm
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Biogen Idec is to acquire independent UK-based Convergence Pharmaceuticals to strengthen its pipeline of drugs for pain management in a $675 million deal.

The transaction will give the US biotech firm access to a host of ion channel-modulating experimental products for neuropathic pain, including hopeful Phase II treatment CNV1014802.

Biogen will start proceedings with $200 million paid upfront for Convergence, and the potential of an additional $475 million through milestone payments.

CNV1014802 has completed two Phase II trials in sciatica, a relatively common form of low back and leg pain. The medicine will sit alongside Biogen’s Neublastin (BG00010), a similar treatment also in testing.

Convergence’s experimental treatment received orphan-drug designation from the FDA in July 2013 and now with the clinical studies well underway, the duo will be hoping to get the opportunity to commercialise the pill as soon as possible.

Neuropathic pain is caused by damage that affects the somatosensory system and generally does not resolve over time. It is estimated that seven in every 100 people in the UK have chronic symptoms of the condition.

“Neuropathic pain is an area of significant unmet need and represents a natural complement to our current neurology portfolio,” says Douglas Williams, who is the executive vice president of R&D at Biogen Idec.

Just prior to acquiring Convergence, Biogen also teamed up with the Colombia University Medical Center in a $30 million deal to carry out genetics discovery research.

According to Biogen collaboration with the US academics will make way for investigations into patient genomes, and will explore the connections among pathways, genes and disease processes.

David Goldstein, founding director of the university’s Institute for Genomic Medicine explains that the deal “will not only focus on target identification and validation at the early stages of drug development, but also facilitate genetically informed evaluation of treatments”.

In the meantime Convergence will continue to operate from its UK facilities under the wing of its chief executive, Simon Tate. Biogen’s acquisition of company is due to be finalised in the first quarter of this year.

Tom Robinson

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