The global pharmaceutical company Allergan plc today announced that it will acquire Evanston-based biopharmaceutical company Naurex Inc., for $560 million in an all-cash transaction.

Naurex is developing therapies for central nervous system disorders.

In a joint press release, the companies said the acquisition will strengthen Allergan’s long-term growth profile with the addition of Naurex’s lead development product rapastinel (GLYX-13), a once-weekly intravenous Phase 3-ready molecule that has demonstrated rapid, robust and sustained efficacy in multiple Phase 2 clinical studies in depression.

The acquisition will also add Naurex’s development product NRX-1074, a next-generation drug candidate, the intravenous form of which has shown rapid and robust antidepressant efficacy in an initial single-dose Phase 2 study. NRX-1074 is also an orally bioavailable drug candidate which is in Phase 1 studies.

Naurex, headquartered at 1801 Maple Ave. in Evanston, raised $25 million in a financing round last year after getting fast-track testing approval on its GLYX-13 drug, which it won a patent on in 2013.

“The acquisition of Naurex is a great fit for Allergan and a compelling and exciting investment. We expect Naurex will enhance Allergan’s mental health portfolio and build on our strategy to lead in this important therapeutic area,” said Brent Saunders, CEO and President of Allergan.

“Our team at Naurex has been successful in bringing these two highly innovative treatments for depression through proof-of-concept clinical trials,” said Norbert Riedel, Ph.D., President and CEO of Naurex. “We recognized that Allergan’s deep commitment and experience in mental health position them particularly well to progress these programs through further clinical development and into commercialization. This transaction also enables us to leverage our proven team and technology to continue innovating in this space through the spin-out of Naurex’s platform and initiation of a research collaboration with Allergan, a credible and committed partner in the field.”

Major investors in Naurex include Adams Street Partners, LVP Life Science Ventures, Baxter Ventures and Baxalta Ventures, Savitr Capital, Genesys Capital, H. Lundbeck A/S, PathoCapital Group, Takeda Ventures, Druid BioVentures, Shire LLC, Longboat Ventures, Goudy Park Capital, EcoR1 Capital, Sabby Capital, Northwestern University, Cowen Investments and Portola Capital Partners.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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