Biogen Idec and Isis Pharmaceuticals have expanded their partnership to develop drugs for neurological diseases. The deal sees Biogen paying Isis $100 million upfront, and up to $220 million per compound in milestone payments, for access to Isis’ antisense technology platform.
Antisense technology can fix genetic defects by turning genes on or off. Examples of neurological diseases that the partnership could tackle include rare disorders such as spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Biogen has previously dabbled in drug development for ALS, including with dexpramipexole, which failed to show any benefit in the EMPOWER Phase III trial earlier this year.
Isis has previously worked with Genzyme to develop orphan drug Kynamro, approved the FDA earlier this year for the treatment of homozygous familial hypercholesterolaemia (HoFH).
The deal between Biogen Idec and Isis is the fourth between the companies in the last two years.
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