Biogen Acquires Rights to Eisai’s Alzheimer’s Drugs

Biogen Idec Inc., maker of the multiple sclerosis drugs Avonex, Tysabri and Tecfidera, bought rights to Japan’s Eisai Co.’s experimental Alzheimer’s disease medicines as it seeks to add treatments for brain disorders.

Biogen will pay Eisai an upfront payment, and a fixed amount of development and milestones as the drugs -- E2609 and BAN2401 -- reach approval and commercialization, the companies said in a statement today, without giving financial details. The drugmakers will share development expenses, they said.

Eisai, the maker of the world’s best-selling Alzheimer’s treatment Aricept before it lost patent protection in 2010, will take the lead to develop the drugs and pursue regulatory approvals, according to the statement. Tokyo-based Eisai will book revenue from the two medicines, which will be co-promoted with Biogen in markets including the U.S. and Europe, while profits will be split between the two companies, they said.

“Eisai’s candidates have demonstrated compelling early data and complement our Alzheimer’s disease research while extending our pipeline in this critical area,” George Scangos, chief executive officer at Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen, said in the statement. Eisai is a pioneer in developing and marketing medicines in the area and the “collaboration is a natural fit,” he said.

The agreement also includes an option for Eisai to jointly develop and sell two of Biogen’s experimental antibodies for Alzheimer’s disease, they said.

Eisai rose 1.4 percent to 3,985 yen at the close in Tokyo trading. Biogen declined 1.2 percent to $339 at the close in New York.

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