One of the oldest independent biotechnology companies, focused on discovering and developing worldwide innovative therapies for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases, hematologic conditions and autoimmune disorders, Biogen Idec, has just announced it has entered an exclusive licensing agreement with Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corporation (MTPC) for MT-1303, a late stage experimental, oral compound with potential application in several autoimmune indications.
MT-1303 is a sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor antagonist designed to inhibit the receptor function on an important type of white blood cells called lymphocytes. MT-1303 action results in the sequestration of lymphocytes in the lymph nodes avoiding their participation and contribution to autoimmune reactions.
Biogen is currently conducting tests to determine MT-1303’s potential therapeutic benefit in a number of autoimmune diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD) like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, multiple sclerosis and several other indications. Following the agent’s successful completion of a Phase 2 clinical trial in MS patients, Biogen is designing a rapid development program for MT-1303 for MS. The company is also currently strategizing a clinical trial in ulcerative colitis, and plans to advance its current studies on Crohn’s disease to Phase 3 clinical trials.
“Based on compelling efficacy and safety data, we believe that MT-1303 could be a best-in-class S1P modulator,” said the group senior vice president and chief medical officer at Biogen, Alfred Sandrock, M.D., Ph.D. in a press release. “There is a great need for effective oral therapies for the treatment of inflammatory bowel disease and other autoimmune indications, and we are excited to strengthen our late-stage pipeline with this next-generation oral investigational therapy.”
According to the agreement, the company will acquire global licensing rights to MTPC’s MT-1303, except in Asian territories. Biogen will have sole responsibility for global commercialization and shouldering development costs outside of these territories. MTPC will be entitled to an upfront payment of $60 million along with up to $484 million in milestone payments, as per agreed upon indications and territories. MTPC also retains the right to be involved in Biogen’s international clinical trials and the option to co-promote non-MS indications for MT-1303 in the United States. The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions and is expected to close in the fourth calendar quarter of 2015.