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Lundbeck to acquire Abide Therapeutics

Deborah Dunsire

Lundbeck and Abide Therapeutics have announced signing of a definitive agreement in which Lundbeck LLC has agreed to acquire Abide.

Under the terms of the agreement, Lundbeck may pay USD 250 million (approximately DKK 1.65 billion) upfront with a commitment to pay future development and sales milestones to the group of current owners of up to USD 150 million (approximately DKK 1 billion).

A US drug discovery hub

Abide has developed a world class platform to discover potent and selective serine hydrolase inhibitors, and this acquisition provides Lundbeck a novel discovery platform and a U.S.-based research hub, it states.

After closing, Abide’s laboratory in La Jolla, California will become a U.S. drug discovery hub for Lundbeck.

“The acquisition of Abide provides us with a differentiated chemo-proteomic platform to discover new classes of drugs for a broad spectrum of brain diseases starting with those that harness the therapeutic potential of the endocannabinoid system. 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,” says Deborah Dunsire, President and CEO of Lundbeck.

Serine hydrolases

Serine hydrolases are one of the largest and most diverse classes of enzymes found in nature, which include lipases, esterases, thioesterases, amidases, peptidases and proteasesi. In mammals, serine hydrolases represent roughly 1% of all proteins and have vital roles in many pathophysiological processes, including blood clotting, digestion, nervous system signaling, inflammation and cancer.

The lead molecule ABX-1431 is a potent selective inhibitor of the serine hydrolase monoacylglycerol lipase (MGLL) 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).

A rich pipeline

In addition to the clinical and pre-clinical programs targeting MGLL, Abide has a rich pipeline of inhibitors targeting other serine hydrolases that may be pursued as future novel treatments to improve the quality of life for patients living with 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.

Deal terms

Lundbeck may pay USD 250 million upfront to the current investors of Abide Therapeutics, Inc. Furthermore, Lundbeck is required to pay up to USD 150 million in future development and sales milestones.

The transaction is expected to be financed by Lundbeck’s existing cash reserves. Credit Suisse and BofA Merrill Lynch acted as financial advisors and Goodwin Procter LLP served as legal counsel to Abide. Baker McKenzie served as legal counsel to Lundbeck.

The board of directors of Abide has unanimously approved the transaction. The transaction 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 Hart-Scott-Rodino Act in the U.S.

The transaction will not have any impact on Lundbeck’s 2019 financial guidance range provided in February 2019. The expected operational costs related to Abide will be covered within the current guidance range for 2019.

Photo of Deborah Dunsire, CEO, Lundbeck