Synosia Therapeutics Announces Second Major Pharmaceutical Deal

Acquires Rights to Rufinamide in Anxiety Disorders and Bipolar Mood Disorders

Synosia Therapeutics today announced that it has signed an exclusive, worldwide licensing agreement (outside of Japan) with Novartis Pharma AG to develop and commercialise rufinamide for the treatment of anxiety disorders and bipolar mood disorders.

This is the second licensing deal with a leading pharmaceutical company announced by Synosia Therapeutics, formerly known as Synosis Therapeutics, since the beginning of the year and represents another major milestone for the company. Using an innovative development approach, Synosia is set to become a leading partner of pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the development of new treatments for disorders of the central nervous system (CNS).

In addition to the license on rufinamide in anxiety disorders and bipolar mood disorders, the agreement signed with Novartis includes an exclusive option for Synosia to acquire rights to an undisclosed compound in the field of CNS.

“Rufinamide fits well with our innovative development approach,” said Chief Executive Officer and President of Synosia Therapeutics Dr Ian Massey. “Rufinamide is a structurally novel compound with proven efficacy in epilepsy and an extensive safety database. It is rare for a start-up company to be offered this kind of opportunity and we look forward to exploring how best to expand its therapeutic potential in CNS through innovative, smart clinical trials. “Gaining access to this asset further validates the capabilities of Synosia and the confidence that big pharma has in us, “said Dr Massey. “We are very proud that such a reputable company as Novartis has entrusted our company and our team with the development of rufinamide in anxiety and bipolar disorder.”

Brad Bolzon, Synosia’s Chairman of the Board said: ”The investors are very pleased by the agreement reached with Novartis. It’s a tribute to the management team at Synosia that they were able to acquire such an advanced product candidate. This deal enables further expansion of an already promising portfolio into the important area of mood disorders.” This agreement with Novartis is the second Basel-based partnership for Synosia, following a broad partnership announced with Roche in January to develop five compounds in a variety of CNS indications.

About Rufinamide

Rufinamide was discovered and developed by Novartis, which granted certain licensing rights to Eisai of Japan in 2004. On January 16, 2007, Inovelon® (rufinamide) received marketing authorisation in the European Union as adjunctive therapy in Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), a severe form of epilepsy that develops in early childhood. Eisai has also submitted an NDA for rufinamide to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November 2005 for adjunctive therapy in adults and adolescents (12 years of age and over). It received orphan drug status for LGS in October 2004.

About the agreement

Under the terms of the deal, Synosia Therapeutics has the exclusive, worldwide rights outside Japan to develop and commercialise rufinamide in anxiety disorders and bipolar mood disorders. No financial terms were disclosed.

About Synosia Therapeutics

Synosia Therapeutics is a privately-owned, drug development company, focused on developing new treatments for disorders of the central nervous system. Its leadership team has over 180 years of combined experience in drug development. Synosia has offices in Basel, Switzerland, and is headquartered in South San Francisco, CA. The company was spun out of EuroVentures Inc., a wholly-owned incubator of Versant Ventures, and recently changed its name from Synosis Therapeutics.

Synosia Therapeutics has raised $32.5 million funding from Versant Ventures (Menlo Park, CA), Abingworth Management (London), 5AM Ventures (Menlo Park, CA) and Novo A/S (Copenhagen, Denmark). For more information, visit

SOURCE: Synosia Therapeutics

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