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Biogen and Isis cement alliance with new $100m pact

Authored by James Sheppard

Biogen IDEC and Isis pharmaceuticals have agreed a partnership to advance the treatment of neurological diseases with antisense technology. This is not the first time that Biogen IDEC and Isis have teamed up. This is the 4th alliance between the two companies in a partnership spanning over 6 years.

Biogen IDEC has gained exclusive rights to Isis’ antisense technology. Antisense technology is designed to alter a gene’s function, silencing a mutation or activating a gene to compensate for an underlying defect. This latest alliance will try to find new drug targets for undisclosed neurodegenerative diseases, as well as antisense, small molecule or antibody drug candidates. This provides Biogen exclusive access to Isis’s entire neurological programme for the duration of the alliance.

“Antisense is a validated technology that we believe will help build our pipeline of antisense, small molecule and biologics programs, strengthening our leadership in neurology,” said Biogen’s R&D head Douglas Williams.

The deal which with gain Isis a $100m upfront payment is combined with milestone payments that could total $220m. This added to the $70m that Biogen has paid upfront for previous projects mean that Isis has so far had a bumper year. Isis CEO, Stanley Crooke, believes that the value of all 4 programmes could be in excess of $4bn.

This latest deal, added to Isis recently reporting positive results from its phase II ISIS-APOCIII Rx, have ensured an extremely positive 2013 for Isis. The firm will now look to add further commercial partners to take forward a number of projects including ISI-APOCIII Rx.

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