Experimental Jazz sounds a new note with Cavion acquisition

In its last two acquisition forays Jazz Pharmaceuticals has bought oncology companies, but yesterday’s purchase of Cavion marks a return to its central nervous system roots. The move is not without risk. Jazz’s CNS experience, and success, has previously been in sleep disorders. The purchase of Cavion, essentially for CX-8998, a T-type calcium channel modulator, puts Jazz into the unfamiliar area of movement therapies. CX-8998 has had mixed results in its lead indication of essential tremor: the phase II T-Calm study missed its primary endpoint, hit most but not all of its secondaries and had relatively high rates of discontinuations. Jazz intends to start a second phase II trial in 2020 using one of T-Calm’s secondary endpoints, Tetras-ADL, as the primary. Jazz’s claims that it has bought a phase II asset with proof of concept are a little generous, given that it is planning to study three doses, which will be titrated to determine safety. Jazz has so far only paid $52.5m up front for Cavion, and CX-8998 might have use in epilepsy, in which case the deal might be worth the biodollar price of $312.5m.

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