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January 13, 2016

Boehringer Ingelheim, Arena Launch Up-to-$262M Psychiatric Drug Collaboration

  • Boehringer Ingelheim will partner with Arena Pharmaceuticals on research intended to produce new treatments for psychiatric diseases, the companies said today. The collaboration could generate up to $262 million for Arena.

    The companies agreed to identify drug candidates targeting an undisclosed orphan G protein–coupled receptor (GPCR) and to jointly conduct research to identify additional drug candidates for continued research and development as therapeutic compounds for various disease indications.

    “Together with our research partners in neuroscience, we are targeting brain circuits underlying major untreated symptom domains in our CNS focus areas of Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, and depression,” Clive R. Wood, Boehringer Ingelheim corporate svp and head of discovery research, said in a statement.

    Under the collaboration, Boehringer Ingelheim will obtain exclusive rights from Arena to its internally discovered, novel compounds and intellectual property for the orphan CNS receptor. Boehringer Ingelheim will retain exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture, and commercialize products resulting from the alliance.

    In return, Boehringer agreed to pay Arena up to $262 million, consisting of an upfront payment, research funding, and milestone payments tied to full commercial success of multiple drug products.

    Arena is also eligible to receive tiered royalties on future sales of products that arise from the collaboration. The partnership is designed to combine Arena's expertise in GPCR-focused drug discovery and development with Boehringer Ingelheim's CNS R&D efforts and capabilities to bring to market new treatments in areas of high unmet medical need.

    For Arena, the partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim comes less than three months after the San Diego biotech committed itself to assessing strategic collaboration opportunities for unspecified clinical- and earlier-stage programs. The undertaking is part of a restructuring that included the elimination of approximately 80 jobs—35% of its U.S. workforce—at the end of last year.

    "This agreement reflects our new corporate focus to enter into collaboration opportunities at various stages of development," added Arena’s interim CEO Harry F. Hixson, Jr.

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