MONTREAL, QC – BELLUS Health and the NEOMED Institute have signed a licensing deal giving BELLUS the rights to develop and commercialize BLU-5937 (formerly NEO5937), a potent, highly selective, orally bioavailable small molecule antagonist of the P2X3 receptor, as a treatment of chronic cough.
Under the terms of the agreement, BELLUS Health will pay NEOMED an upfront fee of $3.2 million, consisting of $1.7 million in cash with $1.5 million worth of BELLUS Health common shares (Approximately 5,802,177 shares). NEOMED will also be entitled to receive a royalty on net sales-based revenues. Additionally, in lieu of milestone payments, a certain portion of all other revenues received by BELLUS Health from BLU-5937 will be shared with NEOMED according to a pre-established schedule whereby the shared revenue portion decreases as the program progresses in development.
“This transaction adds a potentially best-in-class drug candidate to our pipeline that will be a core focus of our drug development efforts going forward,” said Roberto Bellini, president and CEO of BELLUS Health. “BLU-5937 targets a clinically validated target, the P2X3 receptor, in the chronic cough pathway, and based on its high potency and selectivity for the P2X3 receptor, we believe it has the potential to become a superior treatment option for the millions of patients who suffer from chronic cough.”
The P2X3 antagonist program was initiated by AstraZeneca scientists in Montreal, and assigned to NEOMED in October 2012. BLU-5937 was selected as a drug candidate to advance towards the clinic based on development efforts and extensive pre-clinical work in chronic cough done at NEOMED.
“I am extremely pleased to announce this collaboration with BELLUS Health to further the development of our P2X3 program which was discovered and developed at our Ville St. Laurent R&D facility,” said Donald Olds, president and CEO of the NEOMED Institute. “NEOMED’s mission is to advance innovative Canadian science programs to the point where they can be successfully progressed by a partner. We have strong confidence in the ability of the scientific and clinical team at BELLUS Health to rapidly and efficiently develop this program for the benefit of providing a new and much needed therapeutic option for these underserved patients,” he added.
Chronic cough is a cough that lasts more than eight weeks and is associated with significant adverse social, psychosocial and physical effects on quality of life. It is estimated that, in the U.S. alone, more than 2.7 million patients suffer from chronic cough that is not controlled by currently available medications.