Portage Biotech  has acquired approximately 54% equity in Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Company Limited for $3.5 million, payable as $1.75 million upfront and the balance in three installments over the next eleven months.
Biohaven is engaged in the identification and development of clinical stage neuroscience compounds targeting the glutamatergic system.
Biohaven has a worldwide license from Yale University to use intellectual property relating to the use of certain glutamate modulating agents in the treatment of neuropsychiatric disorders. The company's first drug candidate is a glutamate modulating agent being developed for treatment-resistant mood and anxiety disorders.
Biohaven has assembled a team of experts who have extensive experience in the development of therapeutic agents for affective disorders and also comprise the originators at Yale University who discovered the therapeutic potential of glutamate modulation in anxiety and depression. Team members have designed and executed successful development programs testing a variety of agents in affective disorders, leading to first-cycle FDA approvals and successful commercialization of these new drugs in the CNS (central nervous system) area.
"Acquiring majority ownership in Biohaven is an important step for Portage as this represents the second leg of our business model which is to add compelling new products with strong management teams as subsidiaries," commented Dr. Greg Bailey Chairman of Portage.
"Similar to Portage Pharmaceuticals ("PPL"), we plan on identifying additional products for the Biohaven team as we have been working on for Dr. Bruce Littman and Dr. Frank Marcoux who manage PPL. Now we have a remarkable team with track records of success in translational medicine and clinical drug development." The key members of the Biohaven team include Dr. Declan Doogan who is Executive Chairman of Biohaven and also a CEO of Portage, Dr. Robert Berman who is Chief Medical Officer of Biohaven, and the faculty originators of the licensed Yale intellectual property, Dr. Vlad Coric, Dr. John Krystal and Dr. Gerard Sanacora.
"Biohaven combines experienced pharmaceutical drug developers and skilled academic neuroscientists. Preclinical data and clinical studies performed at Yale, as well as at other academic centers, suggest that the glutamatergic system is a truly viable target for neuropsychiatric drug development," says Dr. Declan Doogan. Dr. Bailey of Portage added, "Biohaven represents a timely opportunity to translate the knowledge and experience gained at Yale about the role of glutamate in neuropsychiatric disorders into advances in the clinic. A novel molecular target with clinical data suggestive of efficacy and the right team to deliver."