BioDelivery Sciences shares spike on $180M pain drug deal with Endo Pharma

BioDelivery Sciences International ($BDSI) surged out of penny-stock territory this morning on news of its deal with Endo Pharmaceuticals ($ENDP) to partner on a version of the painkiller buprenorphine now in late-stage development.

The deal brings Raleigh, NC-based BioDelivery an upfront $30 million payment from Endo, raising hopes for the program and sending the company's shares up more than 130% in early-morning trading. Endo also agreed to pay its new partner up to $150 million in milestones. Endo's bet on the program comes after BioDelivery revealed in September that it missed its primary goal that measured difference in pain intensity among patients with chronic aches in a Phase III study, which compared the drug, BioErodible MucoAdhesive (BEMA) Buprenorphine, with a placebo.

Still, BioDelivery has said there was upbeat evidence in the study that warrants further Phase III testing of the drug, which uses a method of delivery that releases the painkiller into a patient's cheek. BioDelivery is responsible for the rest of the clinical development of the treatment, and Endo is taking charge of submitting the application for FDA approval and working with regulators, according to the companies' release this morning. Endo is also in charge of manufacturing and marketing the drug globally.

Dr. Mark Sirgo, president and CEO of BioDelivery, stated: "As we considered the ideal commercial partner for BDSI's most significant asset, we sought to balance the financial benefits of the transaction with a company that had a real need for a product with the potential of BEMA Buprenorphine along with solid experience and commitment to the pain category."

- here's the release