Synosia Therapeutics Announces Second Major Pharmaceutical Deal

    Acquires Rights to Rufinamide in Anxiety Disorders and Bipolar Mood

    SAN FRANCISCO, CA, April 23 /CNW/ - Synosia Therapeutics today announced
that it has signed an exclusive, worldwide licensing agreement (outside of
Japan) with Novartis Pharma AG to develop and commercialise rufinamide for the
treatment of anxiety disorders and bipolar mood disorders.
    This is the second licensing deal with a leading pharmaceutical company
announced by Synosia Therapeutics, formerly known as Synosis Therapeutics,
since the beginning of the year and represents another major milestone for the
company. Using an innovative development approach, Synosia is set to become a
leading partner of pharmaceutical and biotech companies in the development of
new treatments for disorders of the central nervous system (CNS).
    In addition to the license on rufinamide in anxiety disorders and bipolar
mood disorders, the agreement signed with Novartis includes an exclusive
option for Synosia to acquire rights to an undisclosed compound in the field
of CNS.
    "Rufinamide fits well with our innovative development approach," said
Chief Executive Officer and President of Synosia Therapeutics Dr Ian Massey.
"Rufinamide is a structurally novel compound with proven efficacy in epilepsy
and an extensive safety database. It is rare for a start-up company to be
offered this kind of opportunity and we look forward to exploring how best to
expand its therapeutic potential in CNS through innovative, smart clinical
    "Gaining access to this asset further validates the capabilities of
Synosia and the confidence that big pharma has in us," said Dr Massey. "We are
very proud that such a reputable company as Novartis has entrusted our company
and our team with the development of rufinamide in anxiety and bipolar
    Brad Bolzon, Synosia's Chairman of the Board said: "The investors are
very pleased by the agreement reached with Novartis. It's a tribute to the
management team at Synosia that they were able to acquire such an advanced
product candidate. This deal enables further expansion of an already promising
portfolio into the important area of mood disorders."
    This agreement with Novartis is the second Basel-based partnership for
Synosia, following a broad partnership announced with Roche in January to
develop five compounds in a variety of CNS indications.

    About Rufinamide

    Rufinamide was discovered and developed by Novartis, which granted
certain licensing rights to Eisai of Japan in 2004. On January 16, 2007,
Inovelon(R) (rufinamide) received marketing authorisation in the European
Union as adjunctive therapy in Lennox-Gastaut Syndrome (LGS), a severe form of
epilepsy that develops in early childhood. Eisai has also submitted an NDA for
rufinamide to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in November 2005 for
adjunctive therapy in adults and adolescents (12 years of age and over). It
received orphan drug status for LGS in October 2004.

    About the agreement

    Under the terms of the deal, Synosia Therapeutics has the exclusive,
worldwide rights outside Japan to develop and commercialise rufinamide in
anxiety disorders and bipolar mood disorders. No financial terms were

    About Synosia Therapeutics

    Synosia Therapeutics is a privately-owned, drug development company,
focused on developing new treatments for disorders of the central nervous
system. Its leadership team has over 180 years of combined experience in drug
development. Synosia has offices in Basel, Switzerland, and is headquartered
in South San Francisco, CA. The company was spun out of EuroVentures Inc., a
wholly-owned incubator of Versant Ventures, and recently changed its name from
Synosis Therapeutics.
    Synosia Therapeutics has raised $32.5 million funding from Versant
Ventures (Menlo Park, CA), Abingworth Management (London), 5AM Ventures (Menlo
Park, CA) and Novo A/S (Copenhagen, Denmark). For more information, visit

For further information:

For further information: Synosia Therapeutics, In Europe: Julie Walters
at Media Speak, Tel: +44-(0)-1494-753-990, Mobile +44-(0)-775-3626967,; In US: Michele Parisi at Media Speak, Tel: (925)

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