Sept. 9, 2013
(NASDAQ: BIIB) and
Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
(NASDAQ: ISIS) today announced that the companies have entered into a broad, multi-year collaboration to leverage antisense technology to advance the treatment of neurological diseases. The agreement combines Biogen Idec's expertise in neurology with Isis' leadership in antisense technology to develop novel therapies to treat neurological disorders. This is the fourth collaboration between the two companies in the last two years.
"This strategic alliance with Isis builds on our existing relationship and combines the unique strengths of each partner to significantly advance the treatment of serious neurological diseases," said
Douglas E. Williams
, Ph.D., Biogen Idec's executive vice president of research and development. "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."
Antisense technology is designed to alter a gene's function, silencing a mutation or activating a gene to compensate for an underlying genetic defect. When the genetic sequence of a gene is known to cause a disease, it is possible to synthesize a strand of nucleic acid (DNA, RNA or a chemical analogue) that binds to the messenger RNA (mRNA) produced by that gene and effectively turn that gene "on" or "off."
As part of the six-year research collaboration, Biogen Idec will gain exclusive rights to the use of Isis' antisense technology to develop therapies for neurological diseases. Terms of this collaboration include:
- Biogen Idec will make an upfront payment of $100 million, a majority of which will be reflected as R&D expense in Biogen Idec's third quarter financial results.
- Isis is eligible to receive milestone payments, license fees and royalty payments for all treatments developed through this collaboration, with the specific amount dependent upon the modality of the molecule advanced by Biogen Idec. In the case of antisense molecules, the milestone payments could be as much as $220 million, plus additional amounts related to the cost of clinical trials conducted by Isis under the collaboration.
Biogen Idec and Isis will work closely together to select and validate neurological disease targets and conduct drug discovery activities with the goal of identifying clinical development candidates. Isis will be primarily responsible for drug discovery and early development of antisense therapies, while Biogen Idec will be responsible for the creation and development of small molecule treatments and biologics. In each case, Biogen Idec will determine the molecular modality best suited for advancement through clinical development. Biogen Idec will also be responsible for later stage development and commercialization of all drugs arising from the collaboration.