Biogen pays Elan $3.25 billion to take over MS drug

DUBLIN Wed Feb 6, 2013 2:45am EST

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DUBLIN (Reuters) - Biogen Idec is to take full ownership of blockbuster multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri after agreeing to pay Irish partner Elan $3.25 billion plus future royalties on sales of the drug.

Irish drugmaker Elan, which has co-marketed the drug with the larger U.S. company for 12 years, said it would receive a royalty of 12 percent of Tysabri global net sales for the first 12 months after the restructuring closes.

A tiered royalty structure will kick in after that, it said, with Elan receiving 18 percent on up to $2 billion of global net sales and 25 percent on any sales over that amount.

Sales of Tysabri, which provides Elan with almost all of its revenue, rose 8 percent to $1.6 billion last year. A filing last month for approval to sell the drug as a first-line treatment for could boost sales further.

"The restructuring of this business collaboration provides Elan with significant strategic flexibility ... The risk of one asset and a single collaborator was not ideal," Elan chief executive Kelly Martin said in a statement.

"We are enthusiastic about the market opportunities around the globe and remain flexible and creative about the manner in which we would participate in those opportunities."

The deal boosts Biogen's MS business at a crucial time for the U.S. biotech company, which hopes to win approval soon for a new pill to treat the debilitating neurological disease.

Its oral drug BG-12, to be sold under the brand name Tecfidera, is expected to become a leading treatment for MS after its planned second quarter introduction.

Biogen will be able to offer BG-12 alongside Tysabri and another MS treatment called Avonex, both of which are given by injection, providing a range of treatment options for patients.

Rivals in the MS space include Novartis, Teva, Merck KGaA and Bayer.

(Reporting by Padraic Halpin and Ben Hirschler; Editing by Hans-Juergen Peters)

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