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The acquisition provides Valby, Denmark-based Lundbeck with a discovery platform and a US-based research hub.
On May 6, 2019, H. Lundbeck A/S, a biopharmaceutical company in Valby, Denmark, announced that it has agreed to acquire Abide Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company based in San Diego, CA, in a deal worth $400 million.
Under the terms of the agreement, Lundbeck will pay $250 million upfront and $150 million in future development and sales milestones to Abide’s current investors. The transaction has been unanimously approved by Abide’s board of directors and is expected to close during the second quarter of 2019, subject to the receipt of customary regulatory approvals, including expiration or termination of the waiting period under the US Hart-Scott-Rodino Act. After closing, Abide’s laboratory in La Jolla, CA, will become a drug discovery and research hub for Lundbeck.
Abide has developed a platform to discover potent and selective serine hydrolase inhibitors. Serine hydrolases are a class of enzymes found in nature that include lipases, esterases, thioesterases, amidases, peptidases, and proteases. These enzymes play roles in many pathophysiological processes, including blood clotting, digestion, nervous system signaling, inflammation, and cancer.
ABX-1431, Abide’s lead molecule, is a potent selective inhibitor of the serine hydrolase monoacylglycerol lipase (MAGL) that potentiates endocannabinoid signaling to restore homeostatic balance in the central nervous system. It has the potential to address multiple indications in psychiatry and neurology and is initially being explored in clinical trials as a first-of-its-kind compound for the treatment of Tourette syndrome (exploratory Phase IIa) and for neuropathic pain (Phase I).
In addition to the clinical and pre-clinical programs targeting MAGL, Abide has a pipeline of inhibitors targeting other serine hydrolases that may be pursued as future treatments for neurological and/or psychiatric disorders. The chemo-proteomic platform may also be further expanded to characterize other enzyme systems within the serine hydrolase family, leading to the development of additional active agents that modify enzyme function.
“The acquisition of Abide provides us with a highly differentiated platform to develop new classes of drugs for a broad spectrum of brain diseases starting with those that harness the therapeutic potential of the endocannabinoid system,” said Dr. Deborah Dunsire, president and CEO of Lundbeck, in a company press release. “Abide’s innovative R&D platform provides us with a unique opportunity to strengthen our pipeline now and well into the future, putting Lundbeck in position to deliver multiple new and transformative treatments for brain diseases.”
“Developing first-in-class [central nervous system] mechanisms requires in-depth expertise across the spectrum of drug discovery and development,” said Alan Ezekowitz, CEO of Abide Therapeutics, in the release. “Lundbeck’s commitment to brain health convinced us that together this was the best way to attain Abide’s goal to develop novel therapeutics that make a fundamental difference in the lives of patients with a range of neurological and mood disorders. This together with the support for the La Jolla discovery site means that we can continue to leverage the insights of Ben Cravatt’s laboratory at Scripps Research and maintain our outstanding discovery team.”