AcelRx and Grunenthal

Company: AcelRx ($ACRX)
Partner: Grünenthal
Technology: Zalviso pain management system
Amount: Up to $250 million

The scoop: AcelRx's Zalviso is a pain management drug-device combination designed to address some of the issues associated with intravenous pain drug delivery. Late in 2013, the Redwood City, CA, company pulled in $30 million up front and up to $220 million more in milestones down the road from Germany's Grünenthal, giving AcelRx's shareholders a bump in the process. Grünenthal picked up European and Australian marketing rights with the deal.

Zalviso pain drug device--Courtesy of AcelRx

Zalviso, which is set for a mid-2014 PDUFA date, is a handheld system designed to deliver sufentanil NanoTabs under the tongue in a controlled dose for post-op patients. By forgoing the IV route, the sublingual delivery minimizes risk and complications associated with catheters and tubes, the company says. And for pain management, dosing is crucial--the device is preprogrammed to cut down on accidental harm.

In Phase III, Zalviso lengthened the interval between doses to about 80 to 90 minutes as opposed to the typical 20 to 40 minutes with an intravenous system, according to the company.

"We are extremely pleased to enter into this collaboration with AcelRx and its proven concept of a patient-controlled analgesia system to address a significant unmet medical need, thereby allowing hospitals to avoid the challenges of intravenous line-related infections, as well as freeing hospital personnel from the need to program intravenous infusion pump systems," Grünenthal CEO Eric-Paul Pâques said at the time. "With Zalviso Grünenthal is building on its presence in the hospital market, an area that provides us with significant growth opportunities in the mid- and long-term."

For more:
AcelRx spikes on $250M deal for late-stage pain drug/device Zalviso
AcelRx shares soar on positive, head-to-head pain drug study

AcelRx and Grunenthal

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