Catalyst Biosciences said today it has sold a fourth neuronal nicotinic receptor (NNR) candidate it inherited when it merged with Targacept last year to an undisclosed buyer, in a deal that could yield up to $37.75 million for Catalyst.

Sold by Catalyst was TC-6499, a novel small molecule designed to modulate the activity of the α3β4 and other NNRs as an agonist, as well as related intellectual property rights and materials. TC-6499 was originally developed by Targacept for neuropathic pain and diabetic gastroparesis indications.

A month after the merger was announced, Targacept acknowledged that TC-6499 had failed a Phase I/II study in diabetic gastroparesis indications. The candidate missed the study’s primary endpoint, change in gastric emptying half-time (BT_t1/2), as measured by a carbon (13C)-labeled gastric emptying breath test, relative to placebo.

In return for selling TC-6499, Catalyst agreed to receive $750,000 upfront, and could collect up to $37 million tied to achieving development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments, plus royalties on net sales.

“The sale of another NNR asset, following our divestiture of three NNR assets earlier this summer, has allowed Catalyst to realize additional value for a subset of these noncore assets as we remain focused on our therapeutic programs in hemophilia,” Catalyst President and CEO Nassim Usman, Ph.D., said in a statement.

On August 2, Catalyst said it agreed to sell three NNR candidates to Attenua for an undisclosed upfront payment and up to $105 million in development, regulatory, and commercial milestone payments, as well as royalties on net sales from Attenua. The three candidates had been studied in Phase I and II trials assessing more than 1200 patients with depression, attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), and Alzheimer’s disease.

Catalyst’s most advanced development program is an improved next-generation coagulation Factor VIIa variant, marzeptacog alfa (activated), that has successfully completed an intravenous Phase I clinical trial in people with severe hemophilia A and B. Catalyst is also developing a next-generation Factor IX variant, CB 2679d/ISU 304, which is in advanced preclinical development.

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