Allergan Acquires Anti-Depressant Drug Candidate

Allergan will buy a potential depression treatment from Aptinyx.

On May 22, 2018, Allergan exercised its option to acquire the drug candidate AGN-241751, an oral small-molecule N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor modulator, from Aptinyx, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that focuses on treatments for neurologic disorders. Aptinyx discovered the drug using its proprietary chemistry platform. Allergan selected the candidate as part of its research collaboration with Aptinyx.

Under terms of their collaboration, Allergan was granted option rights to a limited number of small molecules from Aptinyx’s discovery platform. The research collaboration was initiated in conjunction with Allergan’s 2015 acquisition of Naurex, from which Aptinyx and its platform were spun out.

Through that transaction, Allergan also acquired rapastinel, an intravenously administered NMDA receptor modulating tetrapeptide. Since then, rapastinel has received breakthrough therapy designation from FDA. Allergan is currently evaluating the compound in Phase III studies as a treatment for major depressive disorder (MDD).

“Through our productive research collaboration with Aptinyx and parallel development of rapastinel, we have gained important insights into NMDA receptor modulation as a potential therapeutic approach for depression,” said C. David Nicholson, PhD, chief R&D officer at Allergan, in a company press release. “We plan to advance AGN-241751 for the treatment of MDD and believe its pharmacological profile will enable it to become an oral complement to rapastinel, further bolstering our pipeline of therapeutics addressing areas of significant unmet medical need.”

“Our research collaboration with Allergan has been fruitful for both parties and we are pleased our collaboration partner has elected to option and continue clinical development of AGN241751 to augment its CNS portfolio,” said Norbert Riedel, PhD, president and chief executive officer of Aptinyx, in the press release. “The exercise of this option underscores the therapeutic potential of molecules generated from our discovery platform, which modulate NMDA receptors in a novel and differentiated way and may significantly improve the lives of patients suffering from various neurologic disorders.”

The companies entered into their research collaboration to discover and characterize novel small-molecule NMDA receptor modulators using Aptinyx’s proprietary chemistry platform. As part of this collaboration, Allergan funds a portion of the collaboration costs and receives options to acquire a defined number of compounds for development and commercialization within a limited field of indications. None of the molecules that Aptinyx has advanced into clinical development are subject to any Allergan option right.

Source: Aptinyx