Avanir inks $110M deal to land U.S. rights to migraine therapy

Avanir Pharmaceuticals ($AVNR) paid OptiNose $20 million upfront and promised up to $90 million in milestones to land the North American development rights to a new migraine therapy that relies on new delivery technology to provide quick relief with a low-dose version of a currently used drug.

With an eye to filing an NDA in early 2014, Avanir is stepping in to take control of the regulatory, manufacturing, supply-chain and commercialization activities for the product, dubbed AVP-825. Shares of Avanir rose slightly after the deal was announced then slipped 5% this morning.

Last fall Yardley, PA-based OptiNose reported results from a pivotal Phase III study in 212 subjects, which tested 16 mg of sumatriptan using OptiNose's delivery technology. The study concluded that 68% of the subjects with moderate to severe migraines experienced relief after two hours. And some of the subjects achieved relief after 15 minutes, with 42% reporting pain relief at 30 minutes post-treatment.

Avanir says it's planning to take out a $50 million loan to pay the upfront and retire another term loan for $30 million.

"The large migraine market is characterized by a high level of dissatisfaction. OptiNose has developed a unique device that has the potential to transform the clinical profile of the leading migraine drug, resulting in a new product candidate that we believe can significantly improve upon the current treatment options," said Greg Flesher, senior vice president of corporate development and chief business officer of Avanir Pharmaceuticals.

- here's the press release