Cephalon has signed an agreement that gives the company the option to purchase a potentially promising new treatment for celiac disease from Alba Therapeutics.
The firm has paid Alba a $7 million upfront fee and will be offering funding support for a phase IIb trial of the drug in question, a tight junction modulator known as larazotide acetate.
Under the terms of the deal, Cephalon can acquire all assets relating to the treatment at any time prior to the end of a specified period after data from this trial has been published by paying Alba a further $15 million.
Kevin Buchi, Cephalon's chief executive officer, said it has purchased the option based on the encouraging trial data it has evaluated for the drug thus far.
"If successful, larazotide acetate will add to our pipeline in immunology and has the potential to be the first pharmacologic therapy available to treat patients who endure this often serious condition," he said.
Last month, the company published data from a phase IV study of the drug Nuvigil, demonstrating its efficacy in combating sleep disorders.