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UCB (UCBJF) recently announced that it has licensed exclusive global rights to tozadenant (SYN115) for Parkinson’s disease from Biotie Therapies.

The Candidate

Tozadenant is an orally administered, selective inhibitor of the adenosine 2a receptor, which is being developed for the treatment of Parkinson’s disease.

UCB’s decision to in-license the candidate was based on encouraging results from a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled phase IIb study that evaluated tozadenant as an adjunctive therapy in levodopa-treated Parkinson's disease patients. Phase III program will be conducted by Biotie for which patient enrolment will start by the first half of 2015.

Terms of the Deal

UCB and Biotie had initially announced their collaboration in 2010. However, with the in-licensing of tozadenant, the original agreement has been modified. Biotie will now receive an upfront payment of $20 million from UCB. Under the original agreement, Biotie was supposed to receive an additional $340 million on the achievement of future milestones. Under the revised deal, Biotie will receive additional amounts in the low triple-digit millions in total, over the next six years, on the achievement of defined development, regulatory and commercialization milestones. Both UCB and Biotie will work on the ongoing clinical development of this candidate. Manufacturing and commercialization of tozadenant will be handled by UCB.

Our Take

This licensing deal represents UCB’s efforts to strengthen its Parkinson’s disease portfolio. The company currently has Neupro in its portfolio for the symptomatic treatment of all stages of idiopathic Parkinson’s disease.

UCB carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Currently, companies like Lannett Company, Inc. (LCI - Snapshot Report), SIGA Technologies, Inc. and QLT Inc. (QLTI - Analyst Report) look more attractive with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).

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