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29 Jun 2015

Novartis acquires Spinifex for $US200m plus

US-Australian anti-pain drug developer Spinifex Pharmaceuticals has been sold to Swiss pharmaceuticals giant Novartis for more than $US200 million.

Novartis will pay $US200 million for Spinifex, plus undisclosed “significant” milestone payments.

Spinifex’s founding technology was developed at the University of Queensland by Prof Maree Smith and Dr Bruce Wyse. They identified AT2 receptor antagonists as inhibitors of neuropathic pain (associated with nerve damage). The technology was spun out of the University of Queensland into Spinifex Pharmaceuticals in 2005. In 2014, Spinifex relocated substantial operations to the US.

Among Spinifex’s projects under development is a compound called EMA401, which is in Phase II testing. The compound is designed to treat neuropathic pain without side effects to the central nervous system, such as dizziness or confusion.
“EMA401 could provide a novel, differentiated treatment approach to provide relief for patients and healthcare providers worldwide,” David Epstein, who runs Novartis Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement.

Novartis will continue to develop the company’s programs.

Novartis is planning to undertake clinical trials in patients with post herpetic neuralgia, a painful condition that can develop following shingles, and painful diabetic neuropathy.

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