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Neurocrine Inks Deal with Private Biotech to Make CNS Drugs

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Neurocrine Biosciences, Inc. (NBIX - Free Report) announced that it has struck a research collaboration deal with privately held small biotech Jnana Therapeutics to identify novel small-molecule therapies for multiple targets of central nervous system (CNS) disorders. The partnership will leverage Jnana's proprietary drug discovery platform focused on solute carrier (SLC) family of transporters with Neurocrine's expertise in developing new medicines for CNS diseases.

Per the agreement, Neurocrine will make an undisclosed upfront payment and provide continuous funding for research to support the drug discovery. Moreover, Jnana is eligible to receive future milestones and royalties on net sales of the product. Both the companies will jointly lead the discovery phase, after which Neurocrine will take care of future development and commercialization.

Shares of Neurocrine have rallied 40.6% year to date versus the industry’s decline of 1.7%.


We remind investors that Neurocrine has ample experience in developing new medicines, which target the SLC family of transporters like VMAT2. VMAT2 led to the development of the company’s marketed drug, Ingrezza (valbenazine). Ingrezza is the first FDA approved product indicated for the treatment of adults with tardive dyskinesia (TD), a movement disorder.

In July, the FDA approved Orilissa (elagolix), which Neurocrine developed in partnership with AbbVie (ABBV - Free Report) for the treatment of moderate to severe pain associated with endometriosis, a common gynecologic disorder in women. Earlier this week, Health Canada also approved Orilissa for the same indication.

Zacks Rank & Stocks to Consider

Neurocrine currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks in the same sector are United Therapeutics Corp. (UTHR - Free Report) and GlycoMimetics, Inc. (GLYC - Free Report) both sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

United Therapeutics’ earnings estimates have moved 3.6% north for 2018 and 2.3% for 2019 over the past 60 days. The stock has inched up 1.8% in the past three months.

GlycoMimetics’ loss per share estimates has narrowed 7.5% for 2018 and 4.2% for 2019 over the past 60 days.

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