Drug Research
Drug Discovery & Development

Biogen to pay Ionis $1bn for neurological drugs development

PBR Staff Writer Published 23 April 2018

Biogen has entered into a new ten-year collaboration agreement with Ionis Pharmaceuticals for the development of antisense drug candidates to treat a range of neurological diseases.

The partnership will use Biogen’s expertise in neuroscience research and drug development and Ionis’ capabilities in RNA targeted therapies to develop a range of investigational therapies.

As per terms of the deal, Ionis will secure $1bn cash from Biogen, including $625m to acquire 11,501,153 shares of Ionis common stock at a price of $54.34 per share and $375m upfront payment.

Biogen is provided with option to license therapies developed under the deal. It will also take responsibility for their development and commercialization activities.

Ionis is also eligible to secure milestone payments, license fees and royalties on net sales.

Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos said: “We believe that this new collaboration will allow us to meaningfully expand our neuroscience pipeline in a way that differentiates Biogen.

“With the large number of diseases that could benefit from Ionis’ antisense platform, we believe that the time is now to build upon our highly productive collaboration with Ionis as we aim to transform the treatment of neurological diseases around the world.”

The partnership intends to advance programs for a range of neurological diseases, including dementia, neuromuscular diseases, movement disorders, ophthalmology, diseases of the inner ear and neuropsychiatry.

Ionis will involve in the identification of antisense drug candidates based on selected targets, while Biogen will take care of non-clinical studies, clinical development, manufacturing, and commercialization activities.

Subject to customary closing conditions, the deal is expected to complete in the second quarter of this year.

Both firms earlier collaboration resulted in the development of Spinraza, which is claimed to be first and only approved treatment for patients with spinal muscular atrophy.

Ionis CEO and chairman Stanley Crooke said: “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.”