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Dec 14, 2007

Alba Inks $325M Deal with Shire to Develop Its Lead Candidate for GI Disorders

  • Alba Therapeutics and Shire entered into an alliance worth over $325 million to develop Alba's lead candidate in various gastrointestinal (GI) disorders.

    If the partnership extends beyond GI disorders, Shire will make milestone payments totaling over $40 million per additional indication.

    Under the terms of the GI disorders deal, Alba will receive an initial, nonrefundable licensing fee of $25 million. The company is eligible to over $80 million if certain clinical, regulatory, and launch milestones are met for particular GI indications. Shire will tender up to $220 million in sales-based milestones as well as tiered royalties.

    Alba’s lead compound, AT-1001, is currently in a Phase II trial in Celiac disease. The firm will be responsible for completing these midstage studies. Shire and Alba will then share responsibility for Phase III development as well as clinical trials in additional indications. Shire will receive commercialization rights outside of the U.S. and Japan.

    AT-1001 is an inhibitor of barrier dysfunction that has been shown to block intestinal permeability and the genesis of some autoimmune diseases. The compound reportedly works through the reduction of antigen presentation to the body's immune system and the inhibition of cytokine production.



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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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