Biogen and Ionis expand collaboration for developing antisense technology

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With the new ten-year agreement, Biogen and Ionis Pharmaceuticals will continue their collaboration to develop antisense drug candidates for a broad range of neurological diseases.

The extended partnership is built on the existing productive collaboration that produced SPINRAZA® as well as two other antisense drug candidates. SPINRAZA is the first and only approved treatment for patients with spinal muscular atrophy and is currently approved in various countries including the United States, European Union, Japan, Australia and Canada. It is an antisense oligonucleotide that alters the splicing of SMN2 pre-mRNA in order to increase production of full-length SMN protein that SMA patients are deficient in.

With Biogen’s expertise in neuroscience research and drug development and Ionis’ leadership in RNA targeted therapies, the companies plan to advance antisense programs for a broad range of neurological diseases including dementia, neuromuscular diseases, movement disorders, diseases of the eyes and inner ear, and neuropsychiatry.

Under the terms of the agreement, Biogen will be responsible for developing, commercializing and licensing all the therapies arising out of the collaboration. Ionis will receive $1 billion in cash from Biogen. This includes $625 million to purchase 11,501,153 shares of Ionis common stock and a $375 million upfront payment. In addition, Biogen will also make milestone payments, license fees and royalties on net sales.

Dr Stanley T. Crooke, CEO of Ionis commented: “Working with Biogen, we have achieved what neither company could have achieved alone. Together, we believe we can create a robust neurological disease franchise fueled by Ionis’ antisense technology and highlighted by the tremendous success of SPINRAZA. This new collaboration provides the potential opportunity to build an even stronger pipeline for Biogen and Ionis, with the expectation of bringing further benefit to patients in desperate need and value to Ionis’ shareholders.”

Source: Biogen and Ionis Expand Strategic Collaboration to Develop Drug Candidates for a Broad Range of Neurological Diseases; Press Release