Biogen Buys Swiss Drug Firm

The company is acquiring Fumapharm AG.
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Drugmaker

Biogen Idec

(BIIB) - Get Report

is set to pad its existing arsenal of treatments for multiple sclerosis through the acquisition of a privately held Swiss firm, Fumapharm AG.

Biogen's acquisition has been approved by the boards of both companies and should close within the next two months. Financial terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

"This acquisition supports our goal of developing innovative therapeutic options for people living with MS," said James Mullen, Biogen's president and CEO, in a prepared statement Wednesday.

Once the deal is sealed, research will continue on BG-12, an orally administered MS drug from Fumapharm. In 2003, Fumapharm licensed the exclusive worldwide rights to develop and market BG-12 to Biogen.

Biogen already has one MS drug, Avonex, on the market. Tysabri, an MS treatment from Biogen and Ireland's

Elan

(ELN)

, was pulled from the market last year after being connected to a potentially deadly brain disease when it was combined with Avonex, but it could

be reapproved by the Food and Drug Administration as early as next month.

Biogen and Fumapharm also announced positive safety and efficacy data from a clinical trial of BG-12 in MS patients whose disease shows a pattern of repeatedly flaring up and fading. The study met its goal of showing a significant reduction in the total number of brain lesions after six months of treatment when compared with a placebo. BG-12 is also being developed to treat psoriasis.

Additionally, as result of the acquisition, Biogen will take over the manufacturing and sale of the psoriasis drug Fumaderm in Germany. "We are proud of the work that Fumapharm has accomplished in the last 20 years and are confident that Biogen Idec will continue our legacy of helping patients," said Hans Peter Strebel, chairman and CEO of Fumapharm.

Shares of Biogen were gaining 32 cents, or 0.7%, at $45.59.