People go shopping for various reasons, but Cypress Bioscience’s shopping spree may be the retail therapy it needed from a recent string of bad romances. Cypress Bioscience, a San Diego-based company developing therapeutics targeted towards central nervous system (CNS) disorders, recently acquired technologies from Marina Biotech and Alexza Pharmaceutical (see the February 9, 2010 LRTJ – client registration required). Cypress paid an upfront fee of $750,000 and a potential $27 million milestone for Marina’s patent rights and technology related to Carbetocin, a naturally produced hormone for treatment of autism. In another deal, Cypress paid $5 million upfront and a potential $1 million milestone plus 10% royalty to license Alexza’s smoking cessation Staccato technology that delivers nicotine via inhalation.
Cypress wasn’t the only company to benefit from the deals. The recent acquisition of Novosom’s siRNA delivery (see the August 24, 2010 LRTJ)* makes Marina more “focused on building value around RNAi drug discovery platforms” by selling Carbetocin, said President and CEO Michael French. This will undoubtedly strengthen the company’s competitive position among RNAi therapeutic companies such as Acuity (acquired by OPKO Health), Alnylam, and Calando (see the [October 6, 2009 LRTJ)*.
In addition, Alexza benefits from partners working on alternate applications for its core Staccato technologies since it “has more Staccato-based product candidates than we can currently afford to develop on our own”, said President and CEO Thomas King. All that said, clients should closely monitor the progress of all three companies as the opportunity to focus on their respective technology platforms may advance them ahead of their competitors.