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Biogen targets neurodegenerative diseases

Biogen Idec is to acquire a subsidiary of Neurimmune, including the worldwide rights to three pre-clinical immunotherapy programmes

Biogen Idec is to acquire a subsidiary of Neurimmune, including the worldwide rights to three pre-clinical immunotherapy programmes.

The three programmes involve the discovery and development of novel human antibodies that address the central nervous system (CNS) targets alpha-synuclein, tau and TDP-43. These targets are believed to be relevant for the treatment and prevention of a wide variety of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Biogen will make an initial payment of $32.5m and up to $395m in contingent payments.

The acquisition builds on a 2007 agreement between the two companies to explore human antibodies against beta-amyloid for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease. The three pre-clinical candidates complement the existing research collaboration by targeting three different neurotoxic proteins, the mis-folding of which is thought to be the cause of many neurodegenerative diseases.

Biogen will be responsible for the development of the pre-clinical candidates and the commercialisation of all products, while Neurimmune will undertake additional scientific activities on the lead candidates as well as the discovery of back-up candidates, using its Reverse Translational Medicine technology platform.

"Biogen Idec is committed to becoming the global leader in the development of innovative therapies for neurodegenerative diseases," said Dr Alfred Sandrock, senior vice president, neurology research and development, Biogen. "Neurimmune continues to impress us with its ability to translate scientific insights into innovative antibodies for the potential treatment and prevention of many neurodegenerative diseases. The unmet medical need among patients suffering from devastating neurodegenerative diseases is high, and we are excited to be moving these three promising programmes forward."

Jan Grimm, founder and CSO of Neurimmune, added: "We are proud of what our team has achieved in proving once again the power of our human antibody discovery platform to generate highly valuable candidates for the development of immunotherapies for CNS indications."

22nd December 2010

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