Morrison & Foerster is first out of the gate with what is likely the largest life sciences deal so far in 2014. The firm is representing Mountain View-based Edison Pharmaceuticals in a $4.29 billion strategic alliance announced today with Osaka, Japan-based Dainippon Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd. (DSP) for the development of drugs targeting cellular energy metabolism. The primary clinical focus of the partnership is the adult central nervous system, and Edison and DSP will work together under a novel collaborative framework to discover, characterize and translate drugs into clinical development. Palo Alto corporate partner Michael O'Donnell and Washington, D.C. corporate partner Van Ellis lead the transaction team that includes Palo Alto corporate of counsel Gavin McCraley, San Francisco corporate associate Aaron Schohn and Palo Alto corporate associate Whitney Lau.
Mr. O'Donnell, in 2013, led four of the top 25 biotech financing deals in the Bay Area including two investments in SFJ Pharmaceuticals for $30 million and $21 million, a $20 million investment in Edison Pharmaceuticals and an $18 million investment in Sorbent Therapeutics. Mr. Ellis last year led a research and development collaboration between his client Toyko, Japan-based Astellas Pharma and Boston startup Mitokyne, Inc. that included a $45 million investment, and represented Hayward, Calif.-based Aradigm in its worldwide license of inhaled ciprofloxacin (Pulmaquin and Lipoquin) for the treatment of severe respiratory diseases to Barcelona headquartered Grifols for a $65 million investment.
Under the terms of the agreement, DSP will gain select development and commercialization rights in Japan and North America to jointly discovered drugs in exchange for $10 million upfront and a $40 million payment in research and development support. DSP will also fully fund the development of 10 new jointly discovered drugs, and broaden its rights to EPI-589 (a treatment for central nervous system disorders currently in phase 1B) to include North America. For more information, see the company's press release.