August 6, 2009 / 7:28 PM / 10 years ago

Biogen evaluating legal options over Elan/J&J deal

BOSTON, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Biogen Idec Inc (BIIB.O) said on Thursday it is evaluating its legal options after Irish drugmaker Elan Corp ELN.I filed suit to block Biogen from taking control of the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri.

Biogen said it sent a letter to Elan on July 28, alleging Elan is in material breach of a collaboration agreement between the two companies. The breach stems from a deal Elan signed with Johnson & Johnson (JNJ.N) that gives J&J an option to finance any acquisition by Elan of Biogen’s share of Tysabri, it said.

Under their 50-50 partnership, Biogen and Elan each has the right to acquire the other’s share of Tysabri should there be a change of control at either company.

Naomi Aoki, a Biogen spokeswoman, said that “based on Elan’s statement and media reports, it is our present understanding that their deal with J&J appears to constitute a material breach of our collaboration agreement regarding Tysabri.”

She said the company is evaluating its legal options.

Reporting by Toni Clarke; Editing by Richard Chang

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