Biogen Inc., the largest Massachusetts-based biotech company, said Monday that it has signed a deal with Dublin-based Alkermes plc to develop and market a drug in late-stage clinical trials to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.
Under the agreement, Biogen will receive an exclusive, worldwide license to market the experimental oral medicine, called ALKS 8700, and will pay Alkermes a royalty on worldwide scales in the mid-teens.
Biogen will pay Alkermes half of the drug’s development costs for 2017, beginning with a $28 million payment upfront. Then in 2018, Biogen will pay for all development costs.
Also Alkermes is expected to receive a milestone payment of $50 million in 2017, and up to $200 million over time depending on the drug meeting certain milestone, according to a joint statement.
“This partnership is further evidence of Biogen’s ongoing commitment to multiple sclerosis and builds upon our deep experience in neuroscience and particularly in MS,” said Michel Vounatsos, chief executive officer of Biogen.
Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that interrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms can include extreme fatigue, impaired vision, problems with balance and walking, numbness or pain and other sensory changes, bladder and bowel symptoms, tremors, problems with memory and concentration and mood changes.
About 400,000 individuals in the US and 2.5 million people worldwide have MS, and most are diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 50.Jonathan Saltzman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org