Cypress Bioscience Shares Soar on News of FDA Approval

1/15/09Follow @bvbigelow

Cypress Bioscience (NASDAQ: CYPB) shares are up sharply today after the San Diego drug developer and its New York partner announced last night the Food and Drug Administration approved their drug for fibromyalgia. As Luke reported in October, Cypress started down this path in 2001, when it licensed rights to milnacipran, (Salvella) a drug approved outside the U.S. for depression.

Cypress’ stock gained more than $1.90, or 27 percent, and was trading at over $9 a share in the late morning. Its strategic partner, New York’s Forest Laboratories (NYSE: FRX) was up $1.10, or 4.5 percent, and trading above $25.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic condition characterized by widespread pain and decreased physical function, afflicting as many as six million people in the United States. Cypress decided to test the drug for fibromyalgia because of the way it’s designed to block the reaborption of serotonin and norepinephrine, two pain-and-mood signaling chemicals in the brain.

The FDA’s approval of milnacipran (Savella) is a key validation for a strategic change in direction that Cypress CEO Jay Kranzler made in 2001, when Cypress licensed the drug from a French drug company. Cypress formed a strategic partnership around the drug in 2004 with Forest Laboratories, which contributed cash, clinical-trials and regulatory expertise, and marketing expertise.

Kranzler’s move expanded Cypress’s focus beyond developing drugs for treating rheumatoid arthritis, the firm’s original area of expertise. After acquiring Proprius Pharmaceuticals last year, Cypress said it had broadened its capabilities further to provide personalized medicine testing services to help rheumatologists optimize therapies for treating ailments like rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

By posting a comment, you agree to our terms and conditions.

  • http://www.upgradeyourbody.com Upgrade

    I would have thought that any drug that blocks block serotonin and norepinephrine would act as a depressant drug. Basically the opposite of anti depressants. I don’t see how this can be good.

    • Bruce V. Bigelow

      Thanks for catching that. In fact the drug blocks the reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine, rather than blocking the molecules themselves. The story has been corrected to reflect that.