Ipsen enters into option agreement to buy Canbex Therapeutics

Published: 24-Feb-2015

Pays €6m upfront to acquire company at completion of Phase IIa study of treatment for spasticity in people with MS

French biotechnology company Ipsen has been granted the exclusive right to purchase Canbex 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 from University College London (UCL) that raised a Series A financing of £2.3m in 2013 from MS Ventures (the corporate venture arm of Merck Serono, Merck KGaA), the Wellcome Trust and UCL Business.

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.

VSN16R was shown to be safe and well tolerated in its Phase I clinical safety trial.

Marc de Garidel, Chairman and Chief Executive of Ipsen, said Canbex’s lead compound has demonstrated excellent safety, efficacy and tolerability to date and fits well within Ipsen’s neurology franchise and could be a valuable companion product to Dysport in the treatment of spasticity.

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 €90m, 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 worldwide annual net sales of VSN16R.

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