Scintilla Pharmaceuticals signed a binding term sheet to acquire Semnur Pharmaceuticals to strengthen its pain management pipeline of therapeutics.

Semnur's lead product, projected to begin Phase III clinical trials in 2017, is a nonopiate epidural steroid injectable to treat chronic back pain. Key members of Semnur's management team are expected to join Scintilla, which recently acquired SCILEX Pharmaceuticals, which will still operate as a standalone company focused on pain management.

Scintilla will pay Semnur's equity holders an initial payment of $60 million, consisting of $40 million in cash and $20 million in shares of common stock of Sorrento Therapeutics, the parent company of Scintilla. In addition, additional cash consideration of up to $140 million may be paid by Scintilla to Semnur's equity holders upon achievement of certain development, product approval, and commercial milestones.

“Semnur represents a unique asset for Scintilla that is highly complementary to its existing assets. Semnur's pipeline of multiple late-stage and near-commercialization product opportunities targets some of the largest pain markets available and addresses critical unmet medical needs,” said Henry Ji, president and CEO of Sorrento. “Upon completion of the pending acquisitions and integrations of Semnur and SCILEX, Scintilla will immediately become a truly unique pain management company with a multiple product pipeline.”

Scintilla's lead program is resiniferatoxin for the treatment of intractable cancer pain.

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