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AstraZeneca grants Biohaven global rights to develop neurological disorder drug

AstraZeneca PLC's Swedish unit granted Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Co. Ltd. exclusive worldwide rights to develop and commercialize its experimental neurological disorder therapy AZD3241.

U.K.-based AstraZeneca has progressed through the phase 2 trial of the drug AZD3241 to treat multiple system atrophy, or MSA — a rare, rapidly progressive and fatal neurogenerative disease with no cure or effective treatments.

AZD3241 is an inhibitor of the enzyme myeloperoxidase, which is a key driver of oxidative and inflammatory processes and is significantly increased in a range of brain disorders. New Haven, Conn.-based Biohaven said inhibiting myeloperoxidase activity may be a therapeutic strategy for neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative conditions, including MSA.

Biohaven said it plans to conduct a phase 3 trial of the drug, which will now be known as BHV3241, to treat multiple system atrophy.

Under the agreement, Biohaven may develop the drug for all uses, except, for a period of five years, for any cardiovascular disease. AstraZeneca agreed not to develop or commercialize, for a period of five years, any myeloperoxidase inhibitor for treating any neurological disorder.

Biohaven will pay $7 million up front in cash and equity to AstraZeneca. The U.S.-based company will also pay up to $55 million based on regulatory and commercial milestones and up to $50 million on sales-based milestones. Additional payments will be due if Biohaven develops the drug for a second use.

Biohaven is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that develops drugs to treat neurological diseases.