NPS Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced that by mutual agreement it has ended its collaboration with AstraZeneca to discover and develop drugs targeting metabotropic glutamate receptors (mGluRs).
AstraZeneca has agreed to pay NPS $30 million to acquire NPS's assets related to the companies' research collaboration to discover and develop the compounds. NPS intends to use the proceeds to support further development of its late-stage product pipeline.
The two companies have been collaborating since March 2001 to discover and develop compounds that are active at these receptors and have identified several drug candidates currently in preclinical and Phase 1 studies.
Under the terms of the agreement, NPS will no longer provide research support for or maintain interests in any drugs discovered, developed and commercialized under this program.
Dr. Tony Coles, president and CEO of NPS, stated, "Monetizing our interests in the mGluR program at this time enables us to create greater near-term value for NPS shareholders. This strategic move creates investment flexibility for NPS and enables us to use the monies from this deal, the previously announced Nycomed GATTEX deal and the approximately $10 million in savings over the next two years from this transaction to support the further development of our late-stage pipeline products, PREOS and GATTEX, in specialty indications. We have had a very productive collaboration with AstraZeneca and wish them continued success with this program."