Denmark’s Lundbeck has acquired the European rights to Myriad Genetics' Flurizan, which is in late-stage trials for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Under the terms of the deal, Lundbeck will pay Myriad an initial $100 million and up to $250 million in connection with regulatory approvals. Furthermore, the Danish firm has agreed to pay what it calls “attractive commercialisation milestones” and will purchase bulk pharmaceutical material from Myriad. It has also agreed to pay escalating royalties of 20%-39% on sales, less the amount paid for the bulk drug.

The companies said that Phase II trials of Flurizan (tarenflurbil) involving over 200 patients suggest that the drug may delay the disability of Alzheimer's disease and it has “an attractive therapeutic and safety profile”. It is currently being studied in two Phase III trials and over 2,500 patients have been enrolled. Data from the first study is expected to be published in June and regulatory submissions are anticipated during the first half of 2009.

Peter Meldrum, Myriad’s chief executive, said that Lundbeck has “an excellent track record in the field of Alzheimer's disease and is globally known for its reputation as a CNS speciality pharmaceutical company”. He added that “I can't think of a better European partner for Flurizan", noting that other alliances will be sought for the drug elsewhere.

One of Lundbeck’s major drugs is Ebixa (memantine), an N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor antagonist for the treatment of moderate and severe Alzheimer's disease, which had sales of 457 million kroner (around $97 million) in the first quarter, up 17%.