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CoLucid Pharmaceuticals starts out with an in-licensed migraine drug from Eli Lilly, one of a new class of molecules known as neurally acting anti-migraine agents. The phase II drug has demonstrated equal efficacy to triptans in the control of migraine symptoms without triptans' risk of cardiovascular side effects. CoLucid is also developing a wake-promotion drug using technology licensed from Sention.
Two recent examples of the difficulties of drug repurposing: Bionaut's ability to find new indications was not sufficient to get a foot in pharma's door without novelty to create barriers to entry to deter fast followers. Sention couldn't generate data fast enough on its L-amphetamine in improving cognitive impairment to counter amphetamine's bad image. (Its second program, even armed with pharma-vetted, baggage-less NCEs in-licensed from Merck, emerged too late to save the company.)
The recent setback in SUI by Lilly's depression drug duloxetine may have implcations for a handful of biotech companies aiming to exploit their knowledge of the brain-gut axis to develop CNS drugs for IBS, OAB and other below-the-belt indications. Dynogen and Vela are two companies with promising products in the area.
Dynogen and Arachnova both independently thought up a new indication for an unapproved but soon-to-genericize Mitsubishi anti-depressant. They both filed use patents, then both licensed the same preclinical data from Mitsubishi. Suddenly revealed to each other, they're now arguing over who owns the IP--a sobering message for the increasing number of companies pursuing re-indication strategies.
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