Biogen Idec has announced that it will acquire small UK-based Convergence Pharmaceuticals for its chronic nerve pain treatment portfolio. Biogen Idec is a United States-based company known for its multiple sclerosis treatments and neurology therapies. It has agreed to pay $200 million up front for Convergence, with $475 million promised for future development milestones.

Convergence has a treatment for trigeminal neuralgia, a condition which causes episodic, delibitating facial pain. The drug recently passed a mid stage trial in which it reduced the severity of the pain and number of episodes compared with a placebo.

The drug for trigeminal neuralgia, CVN1014802, is being tested on the painful back condition called lumbosacral radiculopathy, more commonly known as sciatica, and could be useful in treating other nerve-related pain. CNV1014802 is a small molecule state-dependent sodium channel blocker that preferentially inhibits Nav 1.7 ion channels. Nav 1.7 ion channel is a therapeutic target in human pain conditions. CNV1014802 is believed to penetrate the central nervous system to block Nav channels in a new way, which results in a better therapeutic profile compared to other available agents. CNV1014802 is generally well-tolerated with no serious side effects.

Convergence is a biotechnology company focused on developing analgesics. It has funding from Apposite Capital LLP, New Leaf Venture Partners and SV Life Sciences. It was formed in 2010 by investors with drugs from GlaxoSmithKline and it operates out of Cambridge in England, where it will remain, according to Biogen. It is led by chief scientific officer, Simon Tate. The company has a range of compounds, which are in the clinical stage and target the points of convergence in chronic pain signalling by modulating specific ion channels.

Founded in 1978, Biogen Idec develops treatments for neurogenerative, hematologic and auiimmune disorders. It has a portfolio of hemophilia therapies.

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