Biogen picks up another rare disease drug from Ionis

Jan. 5, 2022

Biogen has exercised an option to pick up an exclusive global license for a drug to treat spinal muscular atrophy, a rare, genetic, neuromuscular disease, from Ionis Pharmaceuticals.

The compound, BIIB115, is an investigational antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) in development for spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). According to Biogen, the treatment may have the potential to help address additional unmet needs of patients as well as to be administered at extended dosing intervals.

Biogen and California-based Ionis have an ongoing broad strategic collaboration to develop novel therapies to treat neurological disorders. Back in 2018, Biogen agreed to pay Ionis $1 billion to expand the companies' collaboration for an additional ten years.

The partners previously collaborated on Spinraza, which became the first therapy to be approved by the FDA for SMA in 2016. BIIB115 builds on the same antisense technology.

Biogen plans to advance BIIB115 to clinical trials to investigate safety, tolerability, pharmacokinetics and efficacy. As a part of the option exercise, Biogen made a one-time $60 million payment to Ionis in the fourth quarter of 2021.