AstraZeneca gains all assets related to mGluR.

NPS Pharmaceuticals and AstraZeneca mutually agreed to end their collaboration to discover and develop drugs targeting metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs). AstraZeneca will pay $30 million to acquire NPS’ assets related to the companies’ partnership.

The two firms have been working together since March 2001 on compounds that are active at these receptors. They reportedly have identified candidates currently in preclinical and Phase I studies. Under the terms of the termination, NPS will no longer provide research support for or maintain interests in any drugs discovered, developed, and commercialized under this program.

“Monetizing our interests in the mGluR program at this time enables us to create greater near-term value for NPS shareholders,” remarks Tony Coles, president and CEO of NPS. “This strategic move creates investment flexibility for NPS and enables us to use the monies from this deal, the previously announced Nycomed GATTEX deal, and the approximately $10 million in savings over the next two years from this transaction to support the further development of our late-stage pipeline products, Preos and Gattex, in specialty indications.”

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