electroCore in talks with potential pharma partners

gammaCore device application--Courtesy of electroCore

Big Pharma is interested in partnering with startup electroCore on commercializing its noninvasive vagus nerve (nVNS) stimulation therapy for migraines and cluster headaches upon FDA approval, company CEO JP Errico says. In a sign that talks may be heating up electroCore has appointed investment bank Piper Jaffray to advise it.

"The interest from pharma, medical devices and even technology companies has grown considerably over the last 6 months" Errico said in a statement. "We wanted to explore all the opportunities for our future, from partnership to remaining independent. We therefore had discussions with several banks to help us with this process and chose Piper Jaffray. We are under no pressure to do a deal as we are fully funded until 2016. However, as we move from proving that nVNS is a promising treatment for primary headache, to rolling out a sales organization we wanted to be mindful of all our options."

ElectroCore hopes to submit its gammaCore to the FDA within the next few months and to get on the market in the U.S. within the next 12 to 15 months. Ultimately, it hopes to secure FDA approval to treat both migraines and cluster headaches.

The startup recently presented data on migraine headache prevention using gammaCore at the American Headache Society meeting. Patients in the headache prevention trial had a 38% to 50% reduction in migraine days per month after at least 6 months on therapy. The patients administered the gammaCore device on the right side of their necks, over their vagus nerve, three times daily.

As for the financing, rather than simply release the final tranche of $14 million from the $40 million round in March 2013, investors opted to release that amount plus an additional $10 million to bring the total Series A to $50 million, Errico said in a previous interview with FierceMedicalDevices.

One of the investors was Merck's Global Health Innovation Fund. Now it appears pharma, or perhaps other medical device or technology companies, are interested in not just the development, but the commercialization of the device as well.

GammaCore has a CE mark in Europe for primary headache, bronchoconstriction, epilepsy, gastric motility disorders, and depression and anxiety. The device is approved for cluster headache, migraine and medication overuse headache in South Africa, India, New Zealand, Australia, Colombia, Brazil and Malaysia, and in Canada for cluster headache, according to the release.

- read the release

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