Biogen Idec-Isis collaboration will focus on neurological disorders

File photo.
File photo.

Biogen Idec Inc., a Weston-based company best known for its multiple sclerosis drugs, will make an upfront payment of $100 million as part of collaboration with Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. that will focus on developing new drugs for neurological disorders.

Headquartered in California, Isis has a specialty in so-called antisense technology, which can activate genes or silence a genetic mutation in ways that can help treat disorders.

As part of the six-year research collaboration, Biogen Idec will gain exclusive rights to the use of Isis’s antisense technology to develop therapies for neurological diseases, the two companies said in a press release.


Besides the upfront payment, Isis is also eligible to receive milestone payments, license fees, and royalty payments for all treatments developed through this collaboration. 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, the release said.

The release pointed out that this is the fourth collaboration between the two companies in the last two years.

In a statement, Douglas E. Williams, Biogen Idec’s executive vice president of research and development, said: 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. 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.’’

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