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GEN News Highlights : Jan 31, 2012

Orexo, Janssen Axe Preclinical-Stage Deal in Respiratory Diseases

Orexo plans to shut down the two programs it owned under the arrangement.

Orexo and Janssen Pharmaceuticals decided to end their research collaboration and license agreement inked in June 2010 covering respiratory diseases. The deal covered two Orexo programs—OX-CLI and OX-ESI—and a third, undisclosed Janssen program. Each party has regained all commercial rights for its respective drug discovery programs.

OX-CLI and OX-ESI are arachidonic acid-based advanced preclinical programs. They are focused on discovering and developing small molecules for asthma, COPD, and other inflammatory diseases. These will be shut down as Orexo doesn’t have the money to continue development on its own.

At the time of signing, Janssen paid Orexo $10 million and agreed to $21.5 million in research funding over the first three years, with an option to extend the alliance. Successful development and commercialization of all three projects would have triggered milestones totaling $564 million plus royalties and additional sales milestones.

Orexo’s cash and cash equivalents at the end of last year amounted to SEK 246.9 million ($36.57 million).  In its interim report covering the January–December 2011 period, the company reported that both programs had advanced as planned. It logged an SEK 233 million (about $34.52 million) impairment due to development related to the OX-CLI and OX-ESI projects.

Orexo’s markets Abstral® for the treatment of breakthrough cancer pain (sold by Kyowa Hakko Kirin/ProStrakan in Europe and in the U.S.), the sleeping pill Edluar™ (sold by Meda in the U.S.), as well as two products for the diagnosis of Helicobacter pylori (marketed by the subsidiary Kibion). The firm’s development pipeline focuses on treating various types of pain and opioid dependence.