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Mar 29, 2007

Avanir Axes Partnerships with Novartis and AstraZeneca as Part of Restructuring Plan

  • Avanir Pharmaceuticals ended two license and collaboration agreements and initiated certain restructuring activities intended to better enable the company to pursue regulatory approval for Zenvia™. The company is developing this drug to diminish the involuntary emotional episodes of involuntary emotional expression disorder.

    Novartis has assumed all continuing R&D activities for the macrophage migration inhibitor factor (MIF) program. The two companies have been involved in a two-year research collaboration to identify orally active, small molecule inhibitors of MIF for the treatment of inflammatory diseases.

    Avanir will receive a milestone payment if the molecule reaches the next stage of development and is eligible to receive additional milestone payments through clinical development. 

    The company also terminated its research collaboration and license agreement with AstraZeneca on the reverse cholesterol transport enhancing compounds. According to the terms of the agreement, AstraZeneca will return the lead molecule and return or make available all related rights to Avanir.

    In conjunction with the winding down of these two research deals, the company initiated restructuring activities to reduce ongoing operational costs and account for the loss of revenue associated with the two partnerships. Avanir anticipates that it will exit from the San Diego research facility later this year and move essential clinical development and support resources to the company's Orange County, CA headquarters. With these actions and other cost-saving measures, the company is targeting to reduce its annual operating expenses to $20 million once all of these actions are fully implemented.

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