Cephalon pays $250M to snare Ception Therapeutics

A fresh batch of positive, mid-stage asthma data has persuaded Cephalon to exercise its option to buy Ception Therapeutics for a minimum of $250 million. That payout comes on top of the $100 million Cephalon originally paid for the option. And Ception shareholders also stand a chance to earn clinical and regulatory milestones.

Cephalon was prompted to snap up Ception after taking a close look at new Phase II data for Cinquil (reslizumab), an experimental therapy for asthma. The trial demonstrated improved control in adult patients with moderate to severe asthma and eosinophilic airway inflammation. And now Cephalon will take it into Phase III.

"This study showed a strong treatment signal and compelling internal consistency on the effect of Cinquil on measurements of asthma and lung function," says Dr. Lesley Russell, chief medical officer at Cephalon. "These data provide confidence that Cinquil shows a meaningful treatment effect in this patient population."

Cephalon has opened up its wallet to buy a string of companies over the past year. The drugmaker acquired Switzerland's Mepha AG and Australia's Arana Therapeutics. And it has another option on hand to buy BioAssets Development Corp.

"The acquisition of Ception is consistent with our strategy to diversify into biologics and provides us with an important Phase III asset for further development," says Frank Baldino, chairman and CEO of Cephalon.

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