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Morrisville Firm Signs European Partner For Acute Pain Drug Product

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MORRISVILLE, N.C. — BioDelivery Sciences International's

proposed treatment for chronic pain that includes novel oral delivery technology has brought the company a European partner - and $2.5 million in an upfront license fee.

The Morrisville-based pharmaceutical firm announced the licensing deal with Sweden-based Meda AB, a European pharmaceutical firm, on Thursday. At the same time BDSI also disclosed acquiring international rights to the delivery process.

BDSI will pay $3 million for non-U.S. rights to the so-called "BEMA" technology to QLT USA.

BEMA stands for bioerodible mucoadhesive. It is a patented disc that delivers drugs through the inner cheek when the disc is placed between the cheek and gum.

BDSI also has the option to purchase U.S. rights for $7 million. The company has licensed BEMA technology since 2004. The deal gives BDSI the option of purchasing patents related to BEMA.

A Phase III clinical trial involving BEMA technology and the pain drug Fentanyl is currently underway. The BEMA Fentanyl product targets acute, or "breakthrough", pain associated with cancer.

Meda wants to commercialize the BEMA Fentanyl product in Europe. Its deal with BSI includes an additional $7.5 million based on achieving of milestones as well as future royalty payments.

"Breakthrough pain is an increasing problem in, for example, cancer care," said Anders Lonner, chief executive officer of Meda, in a statement. "The European market for products that contain Fentanyl is rapidly increasing. We have chosen the BEMA technology because we believe it has the potential to offer important patient benefits compared to competing products."

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