Ionis Pharmaceuticals Receives $5M Milestone Payment from Biogen to Develop Neurological Disorder Drug


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Ionic Pharmaceuticals announced a landmark payment of $5 million from Biogen for the validation of an unnamed target to treat patients with an as-yet unrevealed neurological disorder. Ionis and Biogen have an extensive strategic partnership to develop drugs for neurological disorders; Ionis will continue to evaluate the newest target to advance this program into development.

“Our strategic collaboration with Biogen is very successful.  Our most advanced program, nusinersen, is currently in Phase 3 clinical studies, and we have a number of other drugs in development.  We benefit tremendously from the expertise Biogen brings to our partnered programs.  We also benefit financially as these programs advance.  Across our four collaborations, we have generated more than $350 million from Biogen as our programs have advanced,” said B. Lynne Parshall, COO at Ionis, in a press release.  “As we enter 2016, we expect to continue to expand our collaboration with Biogen as we identify new targets and move new antisense drugs into development.”

Ionis Pharmaceuticals leads RNA (ribonucleic acid)-targeting drug discovery and development focused on producing drugs for patients with rare and severe diseases — those who have the highest unmet medical needs. With its proprietary antisense technology, the company has developed a large number of “first-in-class” or “best-in-class” drugs.

Drugs in Phase 3 development stage include volanesorsen to treat familial chylomicronemia syndrome and familial partial lipodystrophy; IONIS-TTR, a drug being developed in partnership with GSK to treat patients suffering from TTR amyloidosis; and nusinersen, developed with Biogen to help treat children with spinal muscular atrophy.

The alliance between Ionis and Biogen has focused on advancing antisense technology for the treatment of neurological and neuromuscular disorders. The agreement combines Ionis’s expertise in antisense technology to evaluate potential targets for drug discovery and early development. Programs currently under development comprise antisense drugs for patients with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), among others.