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Drug startup signs deal for up to $160M

December 18, 2018
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Tetra Discovery
Mark Gurney, founder, chairman and CEO of Tetra Discovery Partners, credits the startup and life sciences atmosphere in West Michigan with helping his company grow. Photo by Adam Bird

A local drug startup has signed a multi-part deal that could bring it up to $160 million, plus royalties, from a foreign pharmaceutical company.

Grand Rapids-based Tetra Discovery Partners and Osaka, Japan-based Shionogi & Co. said today that Shionogi has given Tetra $5 million in “upfront payments” and $35 million in equity investment in exchange for the development rights in Japan, Taiwan and South Korea for a new medication for brain disorders causing cognitive and memory deficits.

Tetra is also eligible to receive up to an additional $120 million in development and commercialization milestones, plus royalties on sales, if the medication is “successfully commercialized.”

The medicine by Tetra, called BPN14770, is meant to improve cognitive and memory function in patients with disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias, fragile X syndrome, learning and developmental disabilities, major depression and schizophrenia.

The funding will enable Tetra to complete its ongoing phase-two trial for fragile X syndrome, as well as initiate a phase-two trial in patients with early Alzheimer’s disease in early 2019, according to Mark Gurney, founder, chairman and CEO, Ph.D., M.B.A., Tetra Discovery Partners.

“This collaboration, if successful, will enable us to move one step closer in realizing a more vigorous society in which patients can be relieved from debilitating central nervous system conditions,” said Dr. Isao Teshirogi, president and CEO, Shionogi & Co.

Gurney added that Shionogi & Co. (Tokyo Stock Exchange: 4507) is a “very compelling partner for Tetra.”

“We greatly look forward to collaborating with them,” Gurney said.

Tetra Discovery Partners

Founded in 2011, Tetra Discovery Partners is a clinical stage biotechnology company developing a portfolio of therapeutic products designed “to bring clarity of thought” to people suffering from Alzheimer's disease, fragile X syndrome, traumatic brain injury and other brain disorders.

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