Biovail Corp.
(BVF) today agreed to buy US and Canadian rights to develop and market JP-1730/fipamezole for the treatment of Dyskinesia in Parkinson’s Disease (DPD) from Santhera Pharmaceuticals.

According to the deal, Biovail will make an upfront payment of $8 million and another $4 million after successful closing of Santhera’s acquisition of Oy Juvantia Pharma Ltd. Additionally, the company will also pay up to $35 million associated with the potential development and regulatory milestones for the initiation of a late-stage study, regulatory submissions and approvals of JP-1730/fipamezole in DPD.

Biovail will make milestone payments of up to $145 million on achievement of certain sales target. It has to pay royalties of 8% to 15% on net commercial sales of the drug. If the company chooses to pursue a second indication, it will have to pay up to $20 million in additional success milestones to Santhera upon approval. The deal marks an important step in Biovail’s efforts to build a sustainable pipeline targeting central nervous system disorders.

Parkinson’s disease is the second most common neurodegenerative disease that is characterized by sudden uncontrollable chaotic movements of the body. Currently, levodopa and other dopaminergic compounds are prescribed as standard therapies. However, levodopa results in disorders over time and no alternatives for levodopa and other dopaminergic compounds are currently available. Major players in this market include Pfizer (PFE), GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and Novartis (NVS).

Approximately, 400,000 patients in Europe and North America are affected by dyskinesia associated with levodopa therapy treatment. Parkinson’s disease is a lucrative target for drug development due to the chronic, progressive nature of the disease coupled with the non-availability of treatments to slow or stop the disease’s progression.

We believe that a growing elderly population suffering from this disease will further expand the scope of the market in the coming years. This leads us to conclude that JP-1730/fipamezole, which demonstrated the potential to reduce levodopa-induced dyskinesia in a mid-stage study, can become a very important player in the management of this troublesome disease.

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