Finland's Biotie Therapies Corp has signed a deal to acquire Newron Pharmaceuticals of Italy in a transaction valued at 45 million euros.

The new entity will have a pipeline, headed by two Phase III drugs, nalmefene and safinamide, which target alcohol dependence and Parkinson’s disease, respectively. The deal creates a biopharmaceutical company with "significant CNS expertise", boosted by having "industry-leading partners" including Lundbeck (nalmefene), Roche, Merck Serono (safinamide) and UCB Pharma.

Aside from the two leading compounds, the pipeline is relatively well-stocked.  SYN-115 (tozadenant) is another Parkinson’s treatment in Phase IIb and there are drugs for movement disorders, Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia. Another key treatment is SYN-117 (nepicastat), which is in a Phase II study, funded by the US Department of Defense, for the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder.

Timo Veromaa, chief executive of the Finnish group, said "we see this transaction as a win-win for both companies’ shareholders and it confirms Biotie as a key consolidator of high-quality CNS assets". His counterpart at Newron, Luca Benatti, said "we have been working hard to find the right partner and in Biotie we believe we have the best combination to create a European entity with critical mass".

Newron shareholders will hold 21.5% of the absorbing company, once the deal closes at the end of October. The firms added that Newron's organisation in Italy and Switzerland "will be reviewed and restructuring is planned"; at present Biotie has around 39 staff, and Newron 29.

Biotie reported revenues of 900,000 euros for the first two quarters of 2011 while Newron brought in 4.2 million euros over the same period.