Ipsen strengthens neurology capabilities with acquisition of Syntaxin

Published: 15-Jul-2013

Culmination of productive three-year collaboration will enhance toxin technological platform and IP portfolio

Global speciality pharmaceutical company Ipsen has acquired UK-based Syntaxin, a private life sciences company specialised in botulinum toxin engineering. Under the terms of the agreement, Ipsen will pay €28m upfront, as well as further contingent payments that could reach €130m or more depending on the achievement of development and commercial milestones.

The transaction fits into Ipsen’s strategy to reinforce its core technological platforms, peptides and toxins. Syntaxin has a wealth of experience in botulinum toxin biology, supported by an extensive patent portfolio – with 75 granted patents and more than 130 patents pending. It has a strong R&D portfolio that exploits the diversity of botulinum toxins, including recombinant botulinum toxins with improved designs and properties.

Syntaxin’s research laboratories in Abingdon will remain as a centre of excellence for botulinum toxin engineering within the enlarged group, allowing Ipsen to leverage its own extensive expertise. The Abingdon site combines with Ipsen’s R&D at Wrexham (UK) and Les Ulis (France).

Dr Keith Foster and Dr John Chaddock, the co-founders of Syntaxin, will join Ipsen to help the group build a highly differentiated and innovative toxin platform. CEO Dr Melanie Lee will leave Syntaxin as will other members of her executive team including Dr Nigel Clark, CBO, Dr Phil Boyd, CFO and Dr Jon Court, CDO.

Syntaxin and Ipsen started collaborating in 2010. A year later, they signed a global strategic partnership to explore the discovery and development of new compounds in the field of recombinant botulinum toxins. Syntaxin’s recombinant toxin expertise and Ipsen’s know-how will be a powerful combination to release the full potential of the Targeted Secretion Inhibitors platform across Ipsen’s therapeutic areas of neurology, endocrinology and uro-oncology.

‘We are very pleased to see Syntaxin become part of Ipsen. This is an important step in our ambition to become a global leader in targeted debilitating diseases. The acquisition of Syntaxin is a considerable addition to our neurology franchise,’ said Marc de Garidel, Chairman and CEO of Ipsen.

Ipsen expects to achieve full integration by the end of the year.

In a separate move, Ipsen has reached a sponsored research agreement with Harvard Medical School under the terms of which Ipsen will fund Harvard research for at least three years with the aim to discover, evaluate and develop novel engineered recombinant botulinum toxins for the treatment of serious neurologic diseases.

The collaboration will combine Harvard’s discovery platform and botulinum toxins engineering expertise with Ipsen’s know-how in drug discovery and pharmaceutical R&D.

Ipsen will have exclusive worldwide rights to any candidate recombinant toxin stemming from the collaboration; it will be responsible for the development and marketing of the new toxins and will make associated upfront, milestones and royalty payments to Harvard.

‘Ipsen is very pleased to combine its expertise with such a renowned research institution as Harvard,’ said Claude Bertrand, Executive Vice President R&D, Chief Scientific Officer at Ipsen. ‘This collaboration further strengthens Ipsen’s position in biotechnology as a major player focused on the discovery and development of therapeutic toxins to provide innovative therapies for patients with serious neurologic disorders.’

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