Supernus Makes a Parkinson’s Play With $300M Deal for US WorldMeds Drugs

Xconomy National — 

Supernus Pharmaceuticals is expanding its central nervous system (CNS) drug lineup through a deal to acquire four US WorldMeds products with applications in Parkinson’s disease.

The products, three of them already on the market and one in late-stage development, comprise the CNS portfolio of Louisville, KY-based US WorldMeds. According to terms of the deal, Supernus (NASDAQ: SUPN) will pay $300 million up front to acquire the assets. The Rockville, MD-based company could pay up to $230 million more pegged to regulatory and commercial milestones.

Supernus focuses on CNS disorders. The company currently markets oxcarbazepine (Oxtellar) for epilepsy and topiramate (Trokendi) for epilepsy and migraine prevention. Its pipeline includes drug candidates for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, biopolar disorder, depression, and severe epilepsy. Product sales generated revenue of $383.4 million in 2019 , according to Supernus’s annual report. Speaking on a conference call Wednesday, Supernus president and CEO Jack Khattar said the US WorldMeds products complement his company’s current portfolio and help position the firm for long-term growth.

In midday trading Wednesday, shares of Supernus rose to $23 each, up more than 18 percent from Tuesday’s closing price.

The products coming to Supernus span a range of Parkinson’s applications addressing different stages of the disease. Safinamide (Xadago), is a tablet for treating the “off” episodes Parkinson’s patients experience when their mainstay treatment, levodopa, temporarily wears off. Patients needing a faster-acting therapy for these off episodes can use another US WorldMeds product, Apokyn, an injection pen that administers apomorphine hydrochloride. Khattar said that Apokyn is for patients with moderate-to-severe Parkinson’s who need a quicker-acting product to address Parkinson’s symptoms.

A second apomorphine product that doses the drug via an infusion pump is being prepared for an FDA submission in the second half of this year. This product would be used by patients who need a continuous treatment. Supernus envisions the product as an alternative to more invasive therapies, such as continuous infusion of levodopa through a gastric tube or deep brain stimulation. If approved, Khattar said that the infusion pump could launch in the second half of 2021.

The fourth product in the deal, rimabotulinumtoxinB (Myobloc), is approved for treating cervical dystonia, a painful contraction of neck muscles that causes the head to twist to one side. This condition is often seen in Parkinson’s patients. The injectable product received an additional approval last year to treat chronic sialorrhea, or drooling, that many Parkinson’s patients experience. Khattar said that rimabotulinumtoxinB has potential uses in other indications as well.

The US WorldMeds products covered in the deal accounted for $150 million in 2019 revenue, according to a Supernus investor presentation. The biggest was Apokyn, which generated $118.9 million in sales that year. The companies expect to close the transaction later in the current quarter.

Image: iStock/AlexLMX