Santhera grabs $192 million CNS licensing deal

Shares of Switzerland's Santhera Pharmaceuticals got a boost this morning after the developer announced a $192 million licensing pact with Biovail for its experimental drug for dyskinesia in Parkinson's disease. Santhera gets only $8 million of that upfront for JP-1730/fipamezole, but perhaps even more importantly has some upbeat news to report after its lead therapy Catena failed a late-stage trial in May.

"We see the deal as a positive development for Santhera as it represents an effort to diversify from being exposed to the success of idebenone alone," said Vontobel analyst Andrew Weiss. Just weeks ago Santhera axed 26 staffers as it scrambled to cut its burn rate and raise fresh funds.

JP-1730/fipamezole has posted positive mid-stage data for Santhera. The drug is intended to treat a condition that triggers uncontrolled body spasms. Biovail now has marketing rights for the therapy in the U.S. and Canada. And the Canadian developer has taken another step forward in its effort to build up a pipeline of CNS drugs.

"This agreement with Santhera is directly on strategy and another important step in our efforts to build a sustainable product-development pipeline in specialty central nervous system disorders," said Biovail CEO Bill Wells.

- check out the press release
- read the story from Reuters