In pursuit of CNS pipeline, Biovail buys compounds from Cortex

Last year, Canada's Biovail announced it was refocusing its business and gearing up to spend $600 million on new CNS therapies through 2012. Biovail subsidiary Biovail Labs today announced that it's purchased Cortex Pharmaceuticals' Ampakine compounds for respiratory depression, a brain-mediated breathing disorder.

Biovail's haul includes Phase II compound CX717, the preclinical compounds CX1763 and CX1942, and the injectable dosage form of CX1739. The company paid Cortex an upfront fee of $9 million and expects to pay an additional $1 million upon the completion of a transition period. Biovail could also fork out up to $15 million in potential milestones.

"This acquisition, our eighth transaction since we launched our specialty CNS strategy, adds another promising compound to our emerging development pipeline," says Biovail CEO Bill Wells. "CX717 has the potential to address a significant unmet medical need, and would fit nicely with the Hospital sales force we intend to deploy for Staccato loxapine."

The Canadian developer has been snapping up CNS products left and right since unveiling its new strategy. Santhera Pharmaceuticals signed a $192 million licensing pact with Biovail for its experimental drug for dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease. Alexza Pharmaceuticals got $40 million upfront and could earn $90 million in milestones for its inhaled agitation therapy. And Acadia Pharmaceuticals landed $30 million upfront and stands to earn up to $365 million in milestones for its Parkinson's disease psychosis treatment.

- here's Biovail's release