Teva chief Levin inks $376M deal on Xenon pain program

Teva CEO Jeremy Levin

New Teva ($TEVA) CEO Jeremy Levin has inked one of his first new drug deals since jumping from Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY). Levin agreed to pay $41 million up front and up to $335 million in milestones to collaborate with Canada's Xenon on a new pain program.

The object of Levin's devotion is XEN402, a clinical-stage drug that targets sodium channels found in sensory nerve endings. In specific, the therapy blocks the Nav1.7 and Nav1.8 sodium channels, which has reduced pain in patients with rare cases of erythromelalgia. A topical formulation of the drug also produced positive results in a midstage study of postherpetic neuralgia.

For Teva, the move marks another step in its strategy to develop more novel drugs, expanding on its reputation in the generics field. It also comes just a week after Levin outlined a plan to slash $2 billion in costs over the next 5 years.

"Teva is building a focused pipeline of novel medicines in select areas of medical need," said Levin in a statement. "XEN402 fits this strategy. It holds the potential to address the significant unmet medical need for the many patients who suffer from chronic pain. In addition, XEN402 has the potential for broader therapeutic use across other pain conditions."

The Teva pact is the latest in a string of pacts for Xenon, which announced a $646 million pact with Genentech at the beginning of the year. "This partnership with Teva is Xenon's seventh major pharmaceutical alliance," said CEO Simon Pimstone, "once again highlighting the value of Xenon's unique genetics approach and translational R&D capabilities." 

- here's the press release

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