Biogen Idec announced today that it has agreed to acquire U.K.-based Convergence Pharmaceuticals, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company with an innovative portfolio of ion channel-modulating product candidates for neuropathic pain. Biogen Idec plans to leverage Convergence’s expertise in chronic pain research and clinical development to accelerate the growth of its pain portfolio.
The acquisition is centered on the development of Convergence’s Phase 2 clinical candidate (CNV1014802), which has demonstrated clinical activity in proof of concept studies for trigeminal neuralgia (TGN), a chronic orphan disease consisting of debilitating, episodic facial pain. CNV1014802 is a novel small molecule state-dependent sodium channel blocker that preferentially inhibits Nav 1.7 ion channels. The Nav 1.7 ion channel is a genetically validated target for pain in humans. Additionally, CNV1014802 has demonstrated proof of concept for treating pain associated with lumbosacral radiculopathy, more commonly known as sciatica, and has potential applicability in several other neuropathic pain states.
“Neuropathic pain is an area of significant unmet need and represents a natural complement to our current neurology portfolio,” said Douglas Williams, Ph.D., executive vice president of research and development at Biogen Idec. “The team at Convergence has pioneered some of the most innovative science in pain management. We believe their industry-leading talent, capabilities and pipeline of candidates, starting with CNV1014802, will provide a strong foundation upon which to expand our neuropathic pain portfolio.”
Under the terms of the deal, Biogen Idec will pay Convergence shareholders an upfront payment of $200 million. Convergence shareholders are eligible to receive additional payments up to $475 million contingent on future milestones. Convergence will continue to operate out of Cambridge, U.K., under the leadership of its Chief Scientific Officer, Simon Tate, Ph.D.
“The success of Convergence Pharmaceuticals is due to a combination of world-class science and a dedicated management and scientific team in the U.K.,” said Clive Dix, Ph.D., outgoing chief executive officer of Convergence Pharmaceuticals. “We are delighted to have progressed our pipeline to this exciting stage and are extremely pleased that Biogen Idec will now continue the development plan focused on helping patients who are in desperate need of safe and effective chronic pain treatments.”