Biogen Idec, Isis to collaborate on experimental drug for myotonic dystrophy

Biogen Idec Inc., a large Weston biotechnology company known for its multiple sclerosis drugs, said Friday that it is entering another collaboration with Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc., with this collaboration focusing on an experimental drug for myotonic dystrophy, a debilitating neuromuscular disease.

In January, the two companies announced plans to work together on a potential treatment for spinal muscular atrophy.

Friday’s agreement calls for California-based Isis to receive an upfront payment of $12 million, the two companies said in a press release.


Under the agreement, Isis is responsible for the discovery of a lead antisense drug candidate for the treatment of myotonic dystrophy type 1, which is also known as Steinert disease. Isis could receive up to another $200 million in a license fee and regulatory milestone payments as well as double-digit royalties on sales of the drug. Isis will be responsible for global development of the drug through the completion of Phase 2 clinical trials, with Biogen Idec providing advice on the clinical trial design and regulatory strategy, the companies said in a press release. If Biogen Idec exercises its option under the agreement, it will assume global development, regulatory, and commercialization responsibilities.

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Biogen Idec said the collaboration fits its mission to “bring innovative therapies to patients with serious neurologic diseases.”

According to Isis, the collaboration allows it to expand its pipeline of drugs for rare and serious diseases with the help of Biogen Idec’s additional resources and support.

Chris Reidy can be reached at