Mystery suitor nears $150M deal to access Intec's 'accordion pill'

Intec Pharma (TASE:INTP) has revealed it is nearing a deal that could net it $150 million (€142 million). The negotiations with the as-yet-unnamed major pharma company relate to a project involving Intec's "accordion pill," an oral dosage form designed to deliver drugs that suffer from low solubility or poor colonic absorption.

Jerusalem, Israel-based Intec traded up a few percent in the wake of news of the possible deal, which is yet to be finalized. As it stands, Intec thinks the deal could net it an initial $1 million to test the viability of combining its delivery system with a drug from the portfolio of the undisclosed partner. If the work meets the partner's expectations--and the final deal matches the current draft--it will have the option to license the candidate for $150 million in milestones, plus royalties.

The drug reportedly targets a large indication in a field aligned to the areas in which Intec is already operating. Intec's two clinical-phase candidates are treatments for Parkinson's disease and insomnia. Getting and keeping the $150 million deal would give Intec's technology the validation that it has long sought through the advance of its in-house assets and stuttering attempts to nail down partnerships. Intec's only other major, post-IPO pharma partnership fell apart after it had received just NIS 7 million ($1.7 million).

In the immediate years after Intec was founded in 2000, management planned to rely solely on partnerships for business but the model floundered, Globes reports. Intec fired up its in-house R&D programs in response to the setback, culminating in it now having a formulation of Parkinson's disease combination treatment levodopa and carbidopa on the cusp of entering Phase III. The asset is based on delivery technology designed to maximize drug release in the upper part of the GI tract.   

- read Globes' article
- here's Intec's release (Hebrew)