Biogen to Develop Blood Medicines in Deal With Sangamo

Biogen Idec Inc. (BIIB), the maker of drugs for multiple sclerosis and hemophilia, agreed to pay as much as $320 million to develop medicines for blood disorders with Sangamo BioSciences Inc. (SGMO)

Biogen, based in Cambridge, Massachusetts, will pay $20 million upfront to Richmond, California-based Sangamo, with the potential for $300 million more if certain goals are met, the companies said today in a statement. Biogen would also pay royalties on product sales if they reach the market.

The collaboration will focus on drugs for beta-thalassemia and sickle cell disease using Sangamo’s gene therapy technology. The disorders affect hemoglobin, the molecule in blood that ferries oxygen around the body. Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder in the U.S., affecting as many as 80,000 people, according to the National Institutes of Health.

“Our collaboration with Sangamo is expected to help us expand our capabilities to develop treatments for people with serious, inherited hematologic conditions,” Douglas Williams, Biogen’s head of research and development, said in the statement. “We intend to develop Sangamo’s novel gene-editing technology to create a single approach that has the potential to functionally cure both sickle cell disease and beta-thalassemia.”

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