Novartis pays up to $700M for novel pain treatment developer Spinifex

Swiss-based Novartis ($NVS) will buy privately-held Spinifex Pharmaceuticals for $200 million up front as well as up to $500 million in clinical and milestone payments for the firm that developed a candidate for neuropathic pain, EMA401, a novel angiotensin II Type 2 receptor (AT2R) antagonist. Based in Australia and the U.S., Spinifex is focused on a peripheral pain treatment outside the blood-brain barrier that could avoid side effects such as dizziness. The target company showed positive results from a Phase II clinical trial in post-herpetic neuralgia, which develops in some people following herpes zoster (shingles), Novartis said. Novartis said the deal fits with its neuropathic pain treatment development pipeline. Results published in The Lancet medical journal last year showed no central nervous system side effects or any serious adverse events. Novartis plans to start Phase IIb clinical trials in patients with PHN or another condition called painful diabetic neuropathy, caused by diabetes. Spinifex is backed by venture capital units Novo A/S, Canaan Partners, GBS Venture Partners, Brandon Capital Partners, Uniseed and the University of Queensland. Release