On a roll, Neurocrine nails $575M licensing deal with Abbott

Hot on the heels of a promising package of top-line results from the Phase II trial of their endometriosis therapy, Neurocrine Biosciences (NBIX) has wrapped a $575 million licensing deal for the therapy with Abbott Laboratories. The San Diego-based biotech gets $75 million of that upfront along with Abbott's commitment to fund late-stage clinical investigation work. And there's about $500 million in milestones along with the prospect of royalty payments from an approved product.

The deal package is more good news for Neurocrine, which saw its share price pop by more than 50 percent after revealing that elagolix hit all its primary and secondary endpoints for a trial designed to measure its effectiveness in treating the chronic pain from menstruation and sexual intercourse associated with the condition. An estimated 100 million women suffer from endometriosis with about 7.5 million patients in the U.S.

Abbott gets the exclusive worldwide rights to elagolix, an oral gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) antagonist which will also be studied as a potential therapy for uterine fibroids. Abbott also gains the rights to "all next-generation GnRH antagonists."

"Extensive preclinical and clinical experience with elagolix suggests this drug could be an important advance for women with endometriosis and uterine fibroids, highly prevalent conditions where there is a need for new treatments," said John Leonard, M.D., Abbott's senior vice president, pharmaceuticals, research and development. "This agreement enhances Abbott's late stage pipeline, with the potential for additional compounds in earlier stage development."

- read Neurocrine's release
- here's the report from Dow Jones