BioAssets IP estate could help Cephalon develop its TNF inhibitor for sciatica.

Cephalon is paying $30 million for an option to acquire BioAssets Development (BDC). BDC has a Phase II tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitor for the treatment of sciatica and related intellectual property (IP) that could be combined with Cephalon’s TNF inhibitor for the same disorder.

Sciatica is a neuropathic inflammatory pain condition that occurs when the sciatic nerve is compressed, injured, or irritated.

Cephalon may exercise its option at any time from the closing date of the option agreement until 60 days after receipt of one-month patient-response data from the mid-stage study. Data is anticipated in the second half of 2010.

Assuming exercise of the option, an additional payment will be made upon closing the transaction. BDC stockholders could also receive future payments related to regulatory and sales milestones.

BDC’s Phase II placebo-controlled study with etanercept will include at least 40 sciatica patients dosed epidurally. The firm’s IP estate includes the use of TNF inhibitors for sciatic pain in patients with intervertebral disk herniation as well as other spinal disorders.

“BioAssets offers an estate of intellectual property and scientific expertise that will allow us to evaluate our own domain antibody tumor necrosis factor inhibitor, CEP-37247, for the treatment of sciatica,” says Frank Baldino Jr., Ph.D., chairman and CEO of Cephalon.

The Cephalon pipeline of pain products includes intravenous celecoxib for postoperative pain (Phase I) and two tamper-deterrent opioid medications (Phase I and preclinical). Earlier this year, Cephalon completed the acquisition of Arana Therapeutics, from which it obtained domain antibody biologics targeted to inflammatory diseases and cancer, including CEP-37247.

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