San Diego-based specialty pharmaceutical company Neurelis and Finnish specialized drug development firm Biotie Therapies have entered into an agreement to further develop the former’s NRL-1 (intranasal diazepam), and to provide the latter with the exclusive option to acquire all its outstanding shares of its merger target.

Under the terms of the option and merger agreement between the companies, Biotie will first pay Neurelis $1 million for the exclusive option to acquire all the NRL-1-developer’s outstanding shares. Then, during the negotiated option period, Biotie will conduct the development program for NRL-1— indicated for the management of patients requiring intermittent diazepam to control bouts of acute repetitive seizure activity—and work alongside Neurelis to advance the program with the FDA in preparation for NDA submission.

If Biotie exercises its merger option, it will pay out $8.75 million in new ordinary shares. Neurelis stockholders would also be eligible to receive additional payments based on certain regulatory and commercial milestones.

In a statement, Neurelis president and CEO Craig C. Chambliss said: “We are excited at the prospect of working with Biotie on the continued development of NRL-1, with the goal of bringing this promising and unique therapy to patients with epilepsy. The proven success of Biotie’s development efforts and the potential of an intranasal diazepam program with unmatched bioavailability and a well-tolerated safety profile could significantly benefit patients who experience acute repetitive seizures.”

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