Ionis Pharmaceuticals Inc. (NASDAQ: IONS) shares made a handy gain on Friday after the firm announced an expanded strategic collaboration with Biogen Inc. (NASDAQ: BIIB). Through this partnership, these companies are planning to tackle and develop novel antisense drug candidates for a broad range of neurological diseases.
This collaboration capitalizes on Biogen’s expertise in neuroscience research and drug development and Ionis’s leadership in RNA-targeted therapies with the goal of developing a broad pipeline of investigational therapies. It builds on a productive collaboration that produced Spinraza, the first and only approved treatment for patients with spinal muscular atrophy.
Under the terms of the collaboration, Biogen will pay Ionis $1 billion in cash, which will include $625 million to purchase 11.5 million shares of Ionis common stock at a price of $54.34 per share, an approximately 25% cash premium, and a $375 million upfront payment.
Biogen will have the option to license therapies arising out of this collaboration and will be responsible for their development and commercialization. In addition, Biogen may pay milestone payments, license fees and royalties on net sales.
Michel Vounatsos, CEO of Biogen, commented:
Biogen and Ionis share a commitment and passion to bring new therapeutic options to those living with neurological diseases where the unmet medical need is high and growing. We believe that this new collaboration will allow us to meaningfully expand our neuroscience pipeline in a way that differentiates Biogen. With the large number of diseases that could benefit from Ionis’ antisense platform, we believe that the time is now to build upon our highly productive collaboration with Ionis as we aim to transform the treatment of neurological diseases around the world.
Shares of Ionis were last seen up 6% at $48.57, with a consensus analyst price target of $61.27 and a 52-week range of $40.33 to $65.51.
Biogen was trading down nearly 1% at $263.48 a share. The consensus price target is $371.97, and the 52-week range is $244.28 to $370.57.