Glaxo Savings Plan May Hit XenoPort Partnership

Fri, 02/05/2010 - 9:14am

SANTA CLARA, Calif. (AP) — The future of a partnership between XenoPort Inc. and GlaxoSmithKline PLC appeared to be in doubt Thursday after Glaxo said it may end research on pain treatments.

GlaxoSmithKline, one of the world's largest drugmakers, said its neuroscience researchers will focus on inflammatory and degenerative diseases and may stop research into depression and pain drugs. The proposals were part of a cost-saving plan.

XenoPort and GlaxoSmithKline are partnering to develop a drug called Horizant as a treatment for moderate to severe restless legs syndrome and for neuropathic pain. XenoPort said the companies are discussing the next steps in development of the drug, which is formally called gabapentin enacarbil.

The product is XenoPort's lead drug candidate. It previously planned to call the drug Solzira. The companies have not finished testing the drug as a treatment for neuropathic pain, and XenoPort said it has not chosen a marketing name for that indication.

Restless legs syndrome is a neurological condition in which people feel unpleasant or painful sensations in their legs, creating an urge to move them. The Food and Drug Administration is evaluating the drug and is expected to make a ruling by Tuesday.

GlaxoSmithKline, which is based in London, owns most of the marketing rights for the drug, including its U.S. rights. Astellas Pharma of Japan holds the rights to Horizant in Japan and in select Asian countries.

XenoPort shares fell $1.15, or 5.8 percent, to $18.75 in afternoon trading. GlaxoSmithKline shares lost 29 cents to $38.63.



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