Biogen to buy private U.K. company with chronic pain drug-Reuters

(Reuters) – Biogen Idec Inc (BIIB.O) on Sunday said it would buy small, privately-held Convergence Pharmaceuticals to acquire the U.K.-based company’s portfolio of experimental drugs for chronic nerve pain.

The U.S. biotech company, known for its roster of multiple sclerosis medicines, said it would pay Convergence shareholders $200 million up front. Under the terms of the agreement, they would also be eligible to receive up to $475 million more for the achievement of future development milestones.

The centerpiece of the acquisition is Convergence’s drug for trigeminal neuralgia, a condition that causes episodes of debilitating facial pain. The drug, CVN1014802, recently had positive results from a midstage trial in which it reduced the severity of pain and number of episodes compared with a placebo.

The drug is also being tested for the painful back condition commonly known as sciatica, and has potential as a treatment for other nerve pain conditions, Biogen said.

Convergence, formed by investors in 2010 based on drug candidates acquired from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L), will continue to operate out of Cambridge, England, Biogen said.

“We believe their industry-leading talent, capabilities and pipeline of candidates, starting with CNV1014802, will provide a strong foundation upon which to expand our neuropathic pain portfolio,” Biogen research chief Douglas Williams said in a statement.