Biotie purchases option to acquire Neurelis


Provides opportunity to develop late-stage product for treatment of epileptic seizures

Biotie Therapies has obtained an exclusive option to buy Neurelis, a privately owned specialist pharmaceutical company based in San Diego, CA, which develops products for epilepsy and other disorders of the central nervous system (CNS).

Under the terms of the option and merger agreement, Finland-based Biotie will pay Neurelis US$1m for the exclusive right, but not the obligation, to acquire all of the outstanding shares of Neurelis for US$8.75m, to be paid in new Biotie shares to be issued on approval by the Board of Directors.

Biotie may exercise the option right up until the start of the pharmacokinetic clinical studies that will form the basis of a 505 (b)(2) New Drug Application, but no later than 3 December, 2014.

Biotie, which develops medicines for neurogenerative and psychiatric disorders, said the decision to exercise its option would depend on the outcome of ongoing discussions with the FDA and further manufacturing and pre-clinical work which Biotie would conduct.

Our interest in Neurelis is in line with our ongoing portfolio review

Neurelis' lead product, NRL-1, is a proprietary intranasal formulation of diazepam delivered through a nasal sprayer already on the market. It is being developed to help patients with epilepsy who require intermittent use of diazepam to manage bouts of acute and repetitive seizures.

Timo Veromaa, President and Chief Executive of Biotie, said: ‘Our interest in Neurelis is in line with our ongoing portfolio review, which is focused on ensuring that we are developing products that address areas of significant unmet medical need and have the greatest potential for creating value for our shareholders. We are now in a position to assess the potential of NRL-1 alongside our internal pipeline opportunities.’

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If the acquisition goes through, Neurelis will become a wholly owned subsidiary of Biotie and former Neurelis shareholders would, in addition to the pre-defined acquisition payment, be entitled to receive additional milestone payments.