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Biogen (BIIB) Opts for In-Licensing SMA Therapy From Ionis

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Biogen Inc. BIIB announced that it has exercised the option to obtain worldwide, exclusive, royalty-bearing license to develop and commercialize BIIB115/ION306 from its partner Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. IONS. The investigational antisense oligonucleotide, BIIB115, is currently in pre-clinical development for treating spinal muscular atrophy (“SMA”).

Biogen paid $60 million to Ionis in the fourth quarter of 2021 as a part of the option exercised. The company may also make potential development, regulatory and commercial milestone payments as well as royalty payments on net sales upon potential approval. Biogen will advance the candidate to clinical studies and will now solely bear all costs and expenses related to the development, manufacturing and commercialization of BIIB115.

Shares of Biogen have decreased 2.4% in the past year compared with the industry’s decline of 22.8%.

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Zacks Investment Research

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Shares of Ionis have plunged 44.2% in the past year compared with the industry’s decrease of 19.5%.

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Zacks Investment Research

Image Source: Zacks Investment Research

Biogen has in-licensed Spinraza from Ionis, which is approved for treating SMA. Biogen is responsible for commercializing the drug globally. Ionis receives royalties from Biogen on Spinraza’s sales.

Biogen has expanded its collaboration with Ionis to identify new gene therapies for the treatment of SMA as well as a broad range of neurological diseases. Under these collaborations, the companies are currently developing eight medicines to treat neurodegenerative diseases like amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (“ALS”), Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease.

Some candidates that Ionis is developing in partnership with Biogen are tofersen for SOD1-ALS (phase III), ION541 for ALS (phase II) and ION859 for Parkinson’s disease (phase II).

Spinraza has performed beyond expectations, witnessing strong patient uptake in the United States and internationally, and has now become the standard of care in SMA.

However, Spinraza faces stiff competition from Novartis’ NVS new SMA treatment, Zolgensma, which was approved in May 2019 and is the first and only gene therapy for treating pediatric patients with SMA.

Novartis is also working to expand the label of Zolgensma, which is currently the most expensive drug available in the world.

Zacks Rank & Stock to Consider

Biogen and Ionis currently carry a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A top-ranked stock in the biotech sector is Precision BioSciences, Inc. DTIL, which has a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) at present. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Precision BioSciences’ loss per share estimates have narrowed 20.1% for 2022, over the past 60 days.

Precision BioSciences’ earnings have surpassed estimates in each of the trailing four quarters.


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Novartis AG (NVS) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Biogen Inc. (BIIB) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (IONS) : Free Stock Analysis Report

Precision BioSciences, Inc. (DTIL) : Free Stock Analysis Report

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