Queensland's Spinifex sells to Novartis for $200m.

Pharmaceutical firm Novartis agreed to acquire Australia-based drug developer Spinifex Pharmaceuticals today for $200m in a cash deal that will provide pharmaceutical company Novo with an exit.

Spinifex is developing drugs to treat chronic pain, and its lead product candidate is EMA401, an oral treatment for chronic pain, and in particular neuropathic pain, that would work without any central nervous system-based side effects.

The company raised $45m in April 2014 from Novo in a series C round that also featured GBS Partners, Brandon Capital Partners, Uniseed Ventures and UniQuest, the technology transfer company of the University of Queensland.

Spinifex had previously raised A$21.5m ($16.5m) from across two rounds. UniQuest funded its A$3.25m series A round in 2005, before joining GBS, Brandon Capital and Uniseed for an A$18.3m series B round in 2011.

The acquisition follows a positive Phase 2 clinical results for EMA401 for the treatment of PHN, a condition that affects shingles sufferers. Novartis will continue EMA401’s development, and intends to initiate Phase 2b trials for both shingles and diabetes-related conditions.

In addition to the cash payment, Spinifex’s shareholders are also set to receive additional capital based on clinical development and regulatory milestones.


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