Abide Therapeutics Inc., a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company founded by Scripps Research professors Benjamin Cravatt, PhD, and Dale Boger, PhD, was bought out by the Danish pharmaceutical firm H. Lundbeck A/S (Lundbeck).   

Under the terms of the agreement announced in May, Lundbeck will pay $250 million upfront with a commitment to pay up to $150 million upon future milestones to the current owners. Scripps Research will receive a portion of upfront proceeds as a result of its equity holdings, and is eligible to receive a royalty on the lead drug candidate, ABX-1431, and other portfolio assets. 

Abide uses a unique chemo-proteomic platform to discover new classes of drugs for a range of brain diseases, focusing on therapies that target the endocannabinoid system. ABX-1431 is in a phase 2 trial for Tourette syndrome and is entering phase 2 trials for other neurological diseases. 

“From its inception, Abide has displayed the courage to pursue first-in-class therapeutics” for central nervous system disorders, says Cravatt, the Gilula Chair of Chemical Biology at Scripps Research. “The acquisition by Lundbeck speaks to the promise of the innovative approach that Abide has taken. It’s a very special day for the company and great news for the San Diego biotech sector.” 

Abide’s laboratory in La Jolla will become a U.S. drug discovery hub for Lundbeck. Alan Ezekowitz, CEO of Abide, said the acquisition was the best way to achieve the company’s goal of developing novel therapeutics for patients with a range of neurological and mood disorders. “This, together with the support for the La Jolla discovery site, means that we can continue to leverage the insights of Ben Cravatt’s laboratory at Scripps Research and maintain our outstanding discovery team,” Ezekowitz says.