Biogen Puts Up $100M for a Neurological Disease Collaboration with Isis

Isis Pharmaceuticals is the leader in the development of antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) therapies. The ASO approach could provide a new therapeutic avenue for many diseases, and many big pharmaceutical companies are jumping at the chance to partner with Isis on the development of these novel therapies. Biogen Idec has already partnered with Isis on the development of ASO therapies for spinal muscular atrophy and myotonic dystrophy type 1. Now, Biogen and Isis are collaborating again on the development of ASO therapies for neurodegenerative disorders. Biogen CEO George Scangos suggested that the partnership may focus on ALS, where ASO-based therapies have already shown promise. In 2012, Isis completed a Phase I trial of their ASO drug targeted against SOD1. The results of the study were positive – the ASO drug was shown to be well tolerated and safe – which is a good precedent for this new Biogen/Isis collaboration.

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