Biogen Idec and PDL enter into collaboration agreement for three antibody products

Biogen Idec announced Wednesday that it has entered into a collaboration agreement with Protein Design Labs to jointly develop, manufacture and commercialise three antibody products currently in Phase II trials, The New York Times and other news sources report. The deal includes experimental treatments M200 (volociximab) and HuZAF (fontolizumab), and some rights to daclizumab.

Under the terms of the agreement, PDL will receive an upfront payment of $40 million and Biogen will buy $100 million of PDL's common stock. PDL could also receive milestone payments of up to $660 million, news sources report. The companies will share development and commercialisation of daclizumab in multiple sclerosis and indications other than transplant and respiratory diseases. Development and commercialisation will be shared by Biogen and PDL for all indications for M200, which is being tested in patients with skin, kidney and pancreatic cancers, as well as autoimmune disease treatment HuZAF.

Daclizumab is currently in a Phase II trial for MS. M200 is being tested for cancer in three Phase II trials that were started in the first half of this year. A fourth study of M200 in non-small-cell lung cancer is expected to start soon, the companies said in a statement, as reported in MarketWatch.

Additionally, the drugmakers will share equally in the costs of development and operating profits from products within the US and Europe as well as co-promotion rights, pending regulatory approval, The Boston Globe reports. In other parts of the world, Biogen will pay development and commercialization costs and PDL will receive royalties on sales of any products that garner regulatory approval.

Deutsche Bank's Jennifer Chao said the partnership was "intriguing" but she added that "the products are still in early stages of development and more research needs to be done before the companies will know if the drugs are likely to gain approval from the FDA," reports the Boston Globe. Standard & Poor's Equity Research commented that "while we think this strengthens Biogen's pipeline, we were most positive on daclizumab in asthma, not included in the deal," as reported in Forbes. PDL is in partnership with Roche for rights to daclizumab in transplantation, asthma and related respiratory diseases.

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