Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) and Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ: ISIS) today announced that they have entered into a global collaboration agreement under which the companies will discover and develop antisense drugs against three undisclosed targets to treat neurological or neuromuscular disorders. Biogen Idec and Isis are also developing antisense drugs to treat spinal muscular atrophy and myotonic dystrophy type 1 under previously established collaborations.
"Our latest collaboration with Isis to discover and develop novel targets for the treatment of neurological disorders is a perfect fit within our early-stage research strategy," said Richard Brudnick, vice president and co-head of business development at Biogen Idec. "This will be our third collaboration with Isis, which is reflective of our respect for them as a partner and as a leader in antisense technology. By combining Isis' knowledge with Biogen Idec's expertise as a leader in neurology, we believe this latest discovery collaboration holds great potential for finding novel approaches to treating neurologic diseases."
Under the terms of the agreement, Isis will receive an upfront payment of $30 million and is responsible for the discovery of a lead antisense drug for each of the three undisclosed targets. Isis is eligible to receive substantial development milestone payments to support research and development of each program prior to the exercise by Biogen Idec of its option to license each program. Biogen Idec has the option to license a drug from each of the three programs through the completion of Phase 2 trials. Isis could receive up to another $200 million in a license fee and regulatory milestone payments per program. In addition, Isis will receive double-digit royalties on sales of drugs. Isis will be responsible for development of the drugs through the completion of the initial Phase 2 clinical trial, with Biogen Idec providing advice and assistance on research and the clinical trial design and conduct and regulatory strategy for each program. If Biogen Idec exercises its option, it will assume global development, regulatory and commercialization responsibilities.
"We look forward to broadening our drug discovery and development efforts to include new neurological disease targets with Biogen Idec, a world leader in neurological diseases. Combining our antisense drug discovery with Biogen Idec's expertise in severe neurological diseases has significantly enhanced the development of our spinal muscular atrophy and myotonic dystrophy programs. For example, Biogen Idec's contributions have added significant value across multiple areas, such as government affairs, biomarker development, clinical trial design and regulatory expertise, bolstering our development activities for these programs," said B. Lynne Parshall, chief operating officer and chief financial officer at Isis. "We have been very successful in our partnering efforts this year, driven primarily by the advancement of the drugs in our pipeline. The high level of interest in our drug discovery technologies allows us to select the optimal partner for each program, while commanding significant value for our assets."
This collaboration follows two worldwide option and collaboration agreements between Biogen Idec and Isis, which were announced earlier in 2012, to develop and commercialize antisense drugs for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy and myotonic dystrophy type 1.
Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.