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LEO snags option on oral anti-inflammatory in potential $125M 4SC deal

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Denmark's LEO Pharma has anted up $1.25 million and some research cash to take an option on an anti-inflammatory program from Germany's 4SC. And if LEO decides to snare the potential treatment for skin diseases like psoriasis, the biotech will pay an additional $4 million followed by milestones that reach up to $120 million.

"LEO Pharma is excited about the agreement with 4SC and the possibilities it offers patients," said Kim Kjoeller, the SVP of global development for LEO. "The compound has the potential to completely eradicate symptoms of psoriasis, liberating people from the burden of this chronic skin disease. LEO Pharma strives to constantly expand and improve treatment options for patients and this latest deal is the perfect example of our commitment to meeting patient needs with breakthrough novel therapies."

While preliminary, the deal is welcome news for 4SC, which experienced a bitter setback in mid-2011 when its oral rheumatoid arthritis treatment flunked a midstage study. At the time the CEO vowed to push ahead with the program for other autoimmune diseases. And last fall the biotech said its experimental drug resminostat extended overall survival among advanced liver cancer patients by 8 months in Phase II when combined with Bayer's Nexavar. That news also spurred chatter about a potential partnership.

Daniel Vitt, the CSO at 4SC, says this experimental oral therapy partnered with LEO is based on the modulation of cytokines. Vitt added that "this partnership again demonstrates the great expertise and scientific potential of 4SC in the fields of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases."

- here's the press release

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