Supernus on shaky ground with Biscayne buy

Supernus needs fresh blood as its migraine drug Trokendi XR faces pressure from anti-CGRPs and approaches the end of its patent life. But investors had clearly hoped that the company would use its huge cash pile to strike a bigger deal than yesterday’s $15m bet on Biscayne Neurotherapeutics; Supernus shares dropped 1% in premarket trading today. Biscayne’s sole project, BIS-001ER – now known as SPN-817 – is in a phase I/II trial in adults with epilepsy, and Supernus plans to develop it in rare childhood epilepsies such as Dravet syndrome. The company must hope that current Dravet candidates like GW Pharmaceuticals’ cannabis-derived project Epidiolex and Zogenix’s low-dose fenfluramine pill ZX008 will leave room for improvement. Epidiolex was approved this year, and ZX008 could join it in 2019. At least the Biscayne deal fits squarely within Supernus’s focus on epilepsy and extended-release formulations: SPN-817, a synthetic version of the acetylcholinesterase inhibitor huperzine A, could get around the serious side effects seen with immediate-release forms, the company believes. While SPN-817 is still early, Supernus has a couple of later-stage bets, and is due to report data from three of four pivotal trials of its ADHD project SPN-812 by the end of the year.

Replacing Trokendi XR – Supernus's pipeline
      Sales ($m)
Project Status Indication(s) 2017 2024e
Trokendi XR Marketed Epilepsy, migraine 227 100
Oxtellar XR Marketed Epilepsy  68 247
SPN-812 Phase III ADHD - 293
SPN-810 Phase III Impulsive aggression in ADHD - 289
SPN-809 Phase II Depression - -
SPN-817 Phase I/II Epilepsy  - -
Source: EvaluatePharma.

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