Teva wagers up to $410M on Heptares' migraine program

Heptares Therapeutics, acquired by Japan's Sosei earlier this year, signed a deal with Teva Pharmaceutical ($TEVA) to co-develop novel migraine treatments, getting in line for as much as $410 million.

Under the agreement, Teva is paying its partner $10 million up front and promising milestone payments of up to $400 million to collaborate on small-molecule therapies targeting the pain-related peptide CGRP. Heptares is tasked with discovering the new migraine treatments, handing them over to Teva to handle development, manufacturing and eventual commercialization. Heptares is also due royalties on net sales of any products that reach the market.

For Teva, delving into CGRP-targeting pills will complement its work on TEV-48125, a Phase III antibody treatment that blocks the same peptide. A bevy of drugmakers are advancing anti-CGRP migraine therapies, including Alder Biopharmaceuticals ($ALDR), Amgen ($AMGN) and Eli Lilly ($LLY). Allergan ($AGN), thanks to a $250 million deal with Merck ($MRK), has a pair of oral CGRP blockers slated for Phase III and Phase II studies. Awaiting the group is a market opportunity of between $4 billion and $8 billion, analysts have said.

The deal expands Heptares' Rolodex of partners, which includes AstraZeneca ($AZN), Merck's Cubist Pharmaceuticals, Takeda, MorphoSys and Novartis ($NVS). The U.K. company's proprietary pipeline of treatments for central nervous system disorders convinced Sosei to buy it in a $400 million deal in February.

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