Upsher-Smith Laboratories’ subsidiary Proximagen will use Saniona's ion channels and related tech platforms to develop new small molecule therapeutics for neurological disorders, the companies said today. The collaboration could generate up to $31.1 million-plus for Saniona.

The collaboration centers around one of Saniona’s early-stage discovery programs, which the Danish biotech has only disclosed as being in preclinical research.

Saniona focuses on developing new drugs to treat severe diseases through modulation of ion channels, focusing on autoimmune diseases and treatment of pain—as well as central nervous system (CNS) conditions, which are Upsher-Smith’s area of focus for branded therapeutics.

Upsher-Smith’s lead CNS compounds are indicated for epilepsy, “but we will investigate potential treatments for Parkinson’s disease, cognition, neuropathic pain, neuroinflammation, and obesity,” the company states on its website. The company is also building a pipeline of products designed to treat specialty indications such as inflammation, inflammatory pain, and oncology.

“We believe that the program with Saniona may provide potential new therapies within multiple areas of high unmet medical need in this field,” William Pullman, M.B., B.S., Ph.D., Upsher-Smith CSO and president of its Biotech Research Institute Division, said in a statement.

Added Saniona CEO Jorgen Drejer: “This collaboration with Proximagen validates our strategy and represents an important step forward in realizing the value for one of our unique discovery programs from our broad product pipeline. We look forward to providing Proximagen with innovative product candidates under this collaboration.”

Saniona agreed to grant Proximagen exclusive worldwide rights to develop, manufacture, and commercialize medicines identified through the collaboration.

In return, Proximagen agreed to pay Saniona $1.1 million in upfront and research funding, plus up to $30 million in payments tied to achieving pre-commercial milestones. Saniona could also receive tiered royalties on net sales of any products commercialized by Proximagen through the collaboration.

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