Alfa Wassermann buys licence
Enlarge image


Alfa Wassermann buys licence

05.10.2012 - Italian Alfa Wassermann has acquired an exclusive licence for Theravance’s serotonin 5-HT4 agonist velusetrag.

The US biotech partner can bag up to US$63.5 plus royalties for the exclusive development and commercialisation rights of the treatment for gastrointestinal motility disorders such as constipation, irritable bowel syndrome, functional dyspepsia, and gastroparesis. The Bologna-headquartered pharma firm Alfa Wassermann, will fund Phase II clinical trials and grant Theravance a US$10m option fee payable if Alfa Wassermann exercises its option for Europe, Russia, China,  and other key markets after clinical proof-of-concept. The San Francisco-based biotech firm also is set to receive development, regulatory and sales milestone payments of up to US$53.5m. Additionally it may earn royalties on net sales of velusetrag (TD-5108) up to 20%.

What makes velusetrag so attractive to the Italians is its, up-to-now, beneficial safety profile. Previous treatments for gastrointestinal (GI) dysmotility targeting the 5-hydroxytryptamine(4) receptor, modified the function of the cardiac HERG potassium channel leading to severe adverse effects. Within the Phase II programme, the Italian firm will evaluate the efficacy, safety and tolerability of once-daily oral velusetrag in the treatment of patients with gastroparesis. The disorder has few therapeutic options and it is characterised by delayed gastric emptying in the absence of a mechanical obstruction with symptoms that include early satiety, nausea, vomiting and bloating. Velusetrag has been shown to accelerate gastric emptying in healthy volunteers.

Theravance will retain the full rights to the drug in the US, Canada, Japan and certain other countries. The US firm has completed a 400-patient Phase II proof-of-concept study in chronic idiopathic constipation for the drug. In the trial the compound demonstrated statistically significant prokinetic activity at all three doses (15 mg, 30 mg, and 50 mg) tested.

It was generally well tolerated and showed a low incidence of adverse events at the two lowest doses.



07.10.2015 T-cell specialist Adaptimmune Therapeutics plc needs more space for its R&D in immuno-oncology. The expanding UK company is building a major facility that will house 200 staff.

Drug DiscoveryGermany

06.10.2015 Evotec has been hired by the US National Cancer Institute (NCI) to provide compound management services to the Chemical Biology Consortium. The goal: the discovery of new cancer treatments.

Drug DevelopmentUKBelgium

01.10.2015 Autoimmune disease specialist Apitope has raised €12m in a Series B financing round and is relocating its UK headquarters to Wales.

Drug DevelopmentFranceEUFinlandSpainItalyAustria

01.10.2015 Paris-based BEAM Alliance, a network of companies working on novel antibiotics founded earlier this year, has released its first position paper.


29.09.2015 Swiss CNS specialist Asceneuron SA has raised CHF30m (€27.5m) in a Series A financing, winning Paris-based Sofinnova Partners as its largest investor.


28.09.2015 US company Aduro Biotech has acquired Dutch monoclonal antibody discovery and development firm BioNovion for €29m plus milestones.


24.09.2015 Nutrition company Nestlé is teaming up with biopharmaceutical company AC Immune SA to develop a Tau diagnostic assay for early Alzheimer’s.


22.09.2015 Bayer has taken another step in its restructuring and development as a life sciences company after splitting from all its chemical divisions.


18.09.2015 AstraZeneca has partnered up with the US Department of Health in order to accelerate the development of new antibiotics. The goal: to be prepared for multi-resistant bugs – and for bioterrorism.


17.09.2015 Another European biotech is coming with a hefty price tag for its US buyer. Amgen Inc. has acquired privatly held Dutch company Dezima Pharma B.V. for US$1.55bn (€1.37bn).


All Events

Current issue

All issues

Product of the week


Stock list

All quotes


  • PHARMING (NL)0.31 EUR19.23%


  • THERAMETRICS (CH)0.04 CHF-33.33%
  • BAVARIAN NORDIC (D)35.60 EUR-8.48%


  • THROMBOGENICS (B)4.13 EUR48.6%
  • OREXO (S)66.00 SEK36.9%
  • ZEALAND PHARMA (DK)156.00 DKK22.4%


  • THERAMETRICS (CH)0.04 CHF-33.3%
  • TIGENIX (B)0.88 EUR-27.9%


  • KARO BIO (S)43.60 SEK5282.7%
  • CHRONTECH PHARMA (S)0.35 SEK337.5%
  • GALAPAGOS (B)38.43 EUR225.7%


  • NEOVACS (F)0.70 EUR-77.8%
  • BIOTEST (D)19.15 EUR-74.6%
  • EVOCUTIS (UK)0.16 GBP-70.9%

No liability assumed, Date: 08.10.2015