San Diego Business Journal

Neurocrine Biosciences Inc. has begun a Phase IIb clinical trial to evaluate its synthetic hormone-based drug that treats noncancerous tumors in the uterus called uterine fibroids.

The drug, called Elagolix, is being co-developed with Chicago-based pharmaceutical developer AbbVie Inc. Neurocrine Biosciences entered into a collaboration and licensing agreement for the drug in 2010 with Abbott Laboratories in 2010, before the sector spun out to become a separate company, AbbVie.

Abbott paid Neurocrine Biosciences an upfront $75 million, with provisions to extend up to $480 million based on additional development and regulatory-based event payments. Commercialization could bring Neurocrine Biosciences an additional $50 million, as well as a percentage of worldwide sales.

“Based on the positive data from the uterine fibroids Phase IIa trial, AbbVie has progressed Elagolix into Phase IIb for uterine fibroids,” Kevin Gorman, president and CEO of Neurocrine Biosciences, said, in a statement. “We are pleased with this advancement, as well as the ongoing Phase III program in endometriosis, and look forward to the continued development of Elagolix in these two disease states which both have high unmet medical needs.”

About 250,000 hysterectomies are performed each year related to uterine fibroids.

Neurocrine Biosciences, a company traded publicly on the Nasdaq, has a market capitalization of $759 million.

— SDBJ Staff Report