NeXeption said today it has formed Velicept Therapeutics, and will merge that new company with AltheRx Pharmaceuticals to advance the development of a candidate for overactive bladder (OAB) that completed two Phase II studies.

Solabegron had been AltheRx’s lead candidate being developed for OAB as well as for pain associated with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). The compound is designed to work by relaxing the bladder smooth muscle by stimulating beta 3-adrenoceptors.

A Phase II study of solabegron for OAB in 258 patients with moderate to severe incontinence showed a statistically and clinically significant improvement with solabegron versus placebo, as measured by the number of incontinence episodes and the number of daily voids.

In another Phase II study, assessing the compound in 102 patients with IBS, Solabegron demonstrated a significant reduction in pain associated with the disorder and a trend for greater improvement in the quality of life, again compared to placebo.

Earlier, solabegron completed three Phase I studies, according to

Solabegron was discovered by GlaxoSmithKline and acquired by AltheRx in 2011, a year after the company was formed. Privately-held AltheRx derived its name from the name of the Greek goddess of healing, Althea.

“We are very excited about the clinical benefit and tolerability that solabegron has demonstrated in Phase II studies and look forward to taking the next steps to develop this asset and make it available to patients,” Stephen A. Tullman, NeXeption managing member, said in a statement.

NeXeption is a biopharmaceutical management company focused on identifying, developing, registering and commercializing new products. Among sucdcessful development examples cited by NeXemption are Ceptaris Therapeutics (acquired by Actelion), Vicept Therapeutics (acquired by Allergan), Ception Therapeutics (acquired by Cephalon) and Trigenesis Therapeutics (acquired by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories).

The Velicept and AltheRx merger is expected to close within two to three months.

NeXeption has named James C. Walker as Velicept’s president and CEO. He was founder, CEO and chairman of Octagon Research Solutions, a development partnering organization providing regulatory and clinical services and software, before its acquisition by Accenture in 2012.

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