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Biogen pays Denali $1bn upfront for Parkinson’s disease programme

Deal includes portfolio of small molecule LRRK2 inhibitors

Parkinson's disease

Biogen has signed an agreement with Denali Therapeutics for access to the latter’s Parkinson’s disease programme, fronting an initial $1bn for the deal.

Denali’s portfolio of small molecule LRRK2 inhibitors and transport vehicle technology platform has potential in a number neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson’s disease – the focus of the Biogen deal.

Mutations in the LRRK2 gene, a regulator of lysosomal function, can cause Parkinson’s disease and is thought to contribute to neurodegeneration. Denali’s small molecule products are designed to inhibit LRRK2 activity in an effort to slow the progression of Parkinson’s in patients with and without known genetic risks based on restoration of lysosomal function.

Under the terms of the deal, Biogen will pay Denali $560m upfront and also make a $465m equity investment in the company. Denali is also eligible to receive up to $1.125bn in additional milestone payments, if the LRRK2 programme yields successful products.

In addition to Denali’s LRRK2 programme, Biogen will also gain an exclusive option to license two programmes based on the company’s technology platform and for two more preclinical programmes  focused on neurodegenerative diseases.

For the LRRK2 collaboration, Biogen and Denali will share responsibility and costs for global development at a 60%-40% respectively, while the company’s will equally share responsibility and costs, as well as profits and losses, for commercialisation in the US. In China, the companies will again split the profits and losses on a 60%-40% basis, with Biogen taking the larger stake and risk.

“Our collaboration with Denali represents an opportunity to advance the development of a potential first-in-class oral therapy that may slow the progression of Parkinson’s disease,” said Michel Vounatsos, Biogen’s chief executive officer.

“Denali’s LRRK2 program is highly complementary to our existing Parkinson’s disease pipeline and its successful development would enhance Biogen’s portfolio of medicines for treating serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases. We look forward to leveraging our neurology capabilities and infrastructure with Denali’s scientific expertise to accelerate advancement of this programme,” he added.

Biogen is currently awaiting a decision on its controversial Alzheimer’s disease therapy aducanumab from the US Food and Drug Administration.

The drug had originally been abandoned in phase 3 after producing less-than-desirable results, but after an examination of the data, Biogen decided results from a subset of patients warranted taking aducanumab to the FDA.

The Denali deal will help to bolster Biogen’s pipeline beyond aducanumab at the same time that its spinal muscular atrophy drug Spinraza (nusinersen) faces increasing competition.

Article by
Lucy Parsons

7th August 2020

From: Research

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