Ipsen executives must have liked what they learned about the U.K. biotech Syntaxin in the three years since they first invested in the company. The French company ($IPN) has struck a deal to buy the biotech and its drug development platform for $37 million upfront with promises of about $170 million more, with most of the money pinned to the fate of a mid-stage therapy for a rare ailment.
This isn't your normal bolt-on deal with a bigger company simply snapping up a particular experimental therapy. Syntaxin's co-founders, Dr. Keith Foster and Dr. John Chaddock, are joining Ipsen to build a botulinum toxin biology platform for new drug development covering a variety of fields.
The big idea at Syntaxin is that the right inhibitors can prevent cell secretion, which is responsible for a range of diseases. The biotech was working with the Botox specialist Allergan ($AGN) on a new therapy for chronic pain while its internal efforts were focused on rare cases of acromegaly, a disfiguring disease caused by the hypersecretion of growth hormone by the pituitary gland.
"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," says the statement about the buyout.
Back in 2010 Ipsen joined a consortium of investors to sink $29 million into Syntaxin. The company--which held a 10% stake in Syntaxin at the time of the buyout--was joined by Lundbeckfond Ventures, Seventure, Abingworth, SROne, LSP, Johnson & Johnson Development Corporation and Quest. And a year later Ipsen came back to ink a collaboration deal.
- here's the press release