Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. will receive a second milestone payment totaling $20 million from its partner Abbott Laboratories Inc. — a result of Neurocrine’s gynecological drug candidate elagolix moving a step closer to U.S. regulatory approval.

This brings the total milestones earned by the San Diego-based biotechnology company in the third quarter to $30 million.

The Oct. 4 announcement came after Neurocrine and Abbott, based in North Chicago, Ill., held a pre-phase-three meeting with the Food and Drug Administration for elagolix, a treatment for a condition called endometriosis that can lead to infertility.

Analysts expect late-stage trials to begin before the end of the year.

“This represents another significant step forward for the elagolix program as it readies for pivotal studies,” said Kevin C. Gorman, president and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences. “We remain confident that Abbott has the right resources devoted to elagolix to enable it to be both a clinical and commercial success.”

Endometriosis is associated with a wide range of symptoms, some of the most common of which include pain related to menstruation, chronic pelvic pain throughout the menstrual cycle and infertility. The World Endometriosis Research Foundation estimates that there are more than 170 million women worldwide who suffer from endometriosis.

Neurocrine trades on Nasdaq under the symbol NBIX. Its shares closed at $5.50 on Oct. 7.

— Kelly Quigley