Abbott announced today a definitive agreement to acquire the global rights toPanGenetics BV's PG110 fully humanized antibody to Nerve Growth Factor (NGF),expanding the company's pain care portfolio and leveraging its expertise inbiologics. PG110 is a novel biologic in Phase I clinical trial developmentthat targets NGF for the treatment of chronic pain. NGF is released at sitesof tissue damage and inflammation, and plays a significant role in thetransmission of pain signals by the central nervous system. "The goal for treatment of chronic pain continues to be potent,long-lasting analgesia that is tolerable for patients without the potentialfor dependence and abuse," said John Leonard, M.D., senior vice president,global research and development, Abbott. "NGF blockers have demonstrated thepotential to address all of these needs, making them a promising treatment forchronic pain patients." Pain is the number one reason people go to see a doctor. There are anestimated 72 million diagnosed chronic pain patients in the U.S. and EU, andup to 30 percent of chronic pain patients get inadequate relief. Currenttreatments consist of NSAIDs, selective Cox-2 inhibitors, opioids and otheranalgesics that are dosed daily and have various tolerability and safetyissues, including the potential for abuse and addiction. PG110 is currently being studied in a Phase I clinical trial in patientswith osteoarthritis. If the Phase I trial is successful, Abbott anticipatesevaluating the compound in a number of other pain states, including chroniclower back pain, cancer pain and diabetic neuropathic pain. This new NGF inhibitor complements Abbott's robust early-stage pipeline ofcandidates in development for chronic pain, which spans multiple mechanisms,including vanilloid cellular receptors (TRPV1), cannabinoid receptors (CB2),Histamine H3 receptors and preclinical work on a number of promising ionchannel targets. The agreement includes an upfront payment of $170 million plus additionalmilestone payments, for a total of up to $190 million. This transaction issubject to customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals and isexpected to close in the fourth quarter of 2009. Abbott would expect to incurone-time specified items upon the closing of the acquisition, primarilyrelated to in-process research and development. This transaction does notimpact Abbott's previously issued ongoing earnings-per-share guidance for2009.