Cephalon has agreed to pay Ception Therapeutics $100 million for an option to buy the company. And it will pay $250 million for Ception's closely-held stock–provided its late-stage drug program lives up to its potential. Additional, and unspecified, regulatory and clinical milestones payments are included in the option package.
Researchers at Ception are studying reslizumab for two indications: pediatric eosinophilic esophagitis and eosinophilic asthma in adults. Cephalon will have a specific period after the final study to decide whether or not to go ahead with the acquisition.
"This deal builds on our heritage as a biotech company and creates the opportunity for Cephalon to introduce its first biologic into the market," said Cephalon CEO Frank Baldino. "The addition of biologics, which have a longer commercial life, will add higher value products to our portfolio."
The deal marks a big payout to Ception's five founders. Three executives from GlaxoSmithKline joined a lawyer and an investment banker to advance the drug-which targets interleukin-5-that was languishing at Schering-Plough. IL-5 plays a crucial role in the maturation, growth and chemotaxis of eosinophils, inflammatory cells implicated in a number of allergic diseases.