(Corrects to paragraph 10 to say the drug Remoxy ER belongs to
Pain Therapeutics, not Durect)
May 8 Durect Corp said on Monday it
signed an up to $293 million deal with Swiss drugmaker Novartis
AG's Sandoz unit to develop and market Durect's
experimental non-opioid pain relief therapy, posimir, in the
Posimir is designed to deliver local anesthetic,
bupivacaine, and provide up to three days of post-surgical pain
The abuse of opioids — a class of drugs that include heroin
and prescription painkillers — has assumed epidemic proportions
in the United States.
Lawmakers, regulators and drugmakers have been working on
ways to arrest the abuse, which experts partly attribute to the
unrestricted prescription of painkillers.
Every day, 91 Americans die of opioid overdose, the U.S.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates.
Posimir may help reduce the dependency on opioid-based
medications following surgery, Durect said.
As part of the deal, Sandoz will make an upfront payment of
$20 million, and up to $273 million in milestone payments as
well as royalties on product sales.
Durect, which will remain responsible for the completion of
its ongoing late-stage study for posimir, expects the deal to
close by the second quarter of 2017.
The company's pipeline includes therapies for non-alcoholic
steatohepatitis, a chronic liver disease and acute organ injury.
Durect's licensee Pain Therapeutics Inc received
positive guidance from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in
March for its long-acting opioid painkiller, Remoxy ER, which
was rejected by the regulator in September.
(Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by