- Biogen has struck a deal worth up to $544 million total for Mitsubishi Tanabe's MT-1303, an oral SIP modulator being developed for treatment of multiple sclerosis (MS).
- The deal is structured so that Biogen gives Mitsubishi $60 million in cash up front, and up to $484 million in milestones.
- Biogen also plans to evaluate MT-1303 for potential therapeutic use in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Mitsubishi has co-promition rights in the U.S. for IBD indications.
Biogen's CEO George Scangos lost no time finding a deal to bolster the company's pipeline. In July, Biogen faced several setbacks as its Alzheimer's disease (AD) drug-in-development, aducanumab, which had been considered very promising, delivered relatively lackluster results, and the firm failed to produce the data needed to expand the label for its MS pill Tecfidera.
At that point, Scangos re-affirmed Biogen's commitment to growing its pipeline both organically and through external acquisitions. The fact that MT-1303 is being developed for treatment of MS, as well as IBD, suggests that the company is strategically focused on growing its MS franchise, while also increasing its presence in autoimmune disease therapeutics.
With this deal, Biogen is competing head on with Celgene, which is also developing an SIP receptor drug, ozanimod, for treatment of IBD. And like Biogen, Celgene's drug has already made it to phase III.
The need is there for more treatment options for IBD. According to the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America, 1.6 million Americans have IBD, and approximately 70,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed each year. The inclusion of new treatment options based on an entirely new approach to IBD—SIP modulation—can only be seen as a positive development.