CORRECT: Allergan To Help Sell Map Pharma's Migraine Treatment

Date : 01/31/2011 @ 1:40PM
Source : Dow Jones News
Stock : Map Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (MM) (MAPP)
Quote : 24.98  0.0 (0.00%) @ 2:06AM

CORRECT: Allergan To Help Sell Map Pharma's Migraine Treatment

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Botox-maker Allergan Inc. (AGN) has agreed to pay Map Pharmaceuticals Inc. (MAPP) up to $157 million to access the latter company's experimental migraine treatment Levadex, which the companies will jointly promote to U.S. specialists.

Allergan will pay Map $60 million up front and up to $97 million more when certain milestones are reached, and the companies will share profits from sales to U.S. neurologists and pain specialists. The deal doesn't cover sales to U.S. primary care doctors or international sales, for which Map could also seek a partner.

The deal gives Allergan access to another treatment for migraine headaches to compliment the injectable neurotoxin Botox, but for a different, potentially market-expanding patient population. Allergan won U.S. approval last year to sell Botox as a migraine treatment. For Map, a development-stage company trying to get its main product to market, the deal creates access to an established sales force.

The Map product uses an inhaler to deliver an existing migraine drug when needed for at-home treatment. The company plans to file a U.S. application in the first half this year.

Allergan "will help us broaden our commercial reach" once Levadex is approved, Map Chief Executive Timothy Nelson said on a conference call Monday.

Still, shares of the Mountain View, Calif., company recently traded down 4% to $14.88. A question was raised on the call about why Map brought on Allergan rather than a bigger drug company that could also promote Levadex to U.S. primary care physicians as well as doctors overseas.

Nelson said that is still possible. "This was a very competitive process," he told analysts. "As we move forward we'll continue to explore those partnerships and interested parties" for other markets, he said.

Allergan, he added, was the best first partner for Map. As to whether Allergan might seek an extended partnership, an Allergan spokeswoman said the company is focused on the first prescribers in this market--headache specialists--and won't comment on further plans outside that segment at this point.

Analysts said the deal makes sense for Allergan. The Irvine, Calif., company sells Botox as a treatment for frequent chronic migraines, while Map is pursuing the market for less frequent acute migraines, or those that hit two to eight times per month. "We view this deal as a strategic positive" for Allergan, Wells Fargo analyst Larry Biegelsen said in a note to clients. He said the filing timeline suggests Food and Drug Administration approval is likely early next year.

Allergan shares recently traded up 1% to $69.77.

Nelson said Map will co-promote Levadex with 50 of its own sales representatives. He declined to disclose details regarding the size of Allergan's migraine sales force, and Allergan's spokeswoman said the company doesn't comment on that for competitive reasons.

Levadex is backed by a late-stage study that included nearly 800 patients and showed benefits at reducing migraine symptoms after two hours compared with a placebo, or fake, treatment. Common side effects included a medication aftertaste and nausea, Map said.

Allergan and Map also agreed to jointly develop Levadex for additional treatments, including adolescent migraines and an additional headache disorder.

-By Jon Kamp, Dow Jones Newswires; 617-654-6728; jon.kamp@dowjones.com

-Matt Jarzemsky contributed to this article

 
 

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