Otsuka Pharmaceutical has agreed to a potentially $250 million deal to buy Neurovance so that it can acquire the firm’s Phase III-ready attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) drug centanafadine (previously EB-1020). Under terms of the agreement, the Otsuka subsidiary Otsuka America will pay an estimated $100 million upfront for Neurovance, plus up to another $150 million in development and approval milestones, and additional future sales milestones. The deal is expected to close during Q2 2017. Otsuka says Neurovance will operate as an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary.

Commenting on the Neurovance buyout, Otsuka Pharmaceutical president and executive director, Tatsuo Higuchi, said, “Otsuka has been investing prudently in acquiring assets and collaborating on the development of new technologies that address specific patient needs in the central nervous system, cardio-renal, and oncology therapeutic areas. Neurovance’s resources will be a welcomed, integral part of our activities in CNS.”

Cambridge, MA-based Neurovance was spun out from Euthymics Bioscience in 2011 to develop drugs for ADHD and related disorders. Lead candidate centanafadine is a nonstimulant, triple reuptake inhibitor that targets norepinephrine, dopamine, and, to a lesser extent, serotonin reuptake. The drug has been designed to improve focus, attention, and executive function, but with low risk of abuse potential. Centanafadine is being developed for both adult and pediatric patients. Two Phase II studies in adults have been completed.

Neurovance reported positive data from a 3-week, placebo-controlled Phase IIb centanafadine efficacy study in July 2016. The trial in adult ADHD patients met both primary and secondary endpoints, with results indicating that the drug was as effective as currently approved stimulants, but was associated with lower rates of insomnia and appetite loss.

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