Isis Pharma up on muscular dystrophy drug payment

Isis rises after company says it will get $10M from Biogen for work on muscle disorder drug

Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) -- Shares of Isis Pharmaceuticals rose Wednesday after the company said it will get a $10 million payment related to the development of a potential treatment for a type of muscular dystrophy.

THE SPARK: Isis said it will get a $10 million payment from Biogen Idec. The payment is connected to a drug called ISIS-DMPKRx. The companies will develop ISIS-DMPKRx as a treatment for myotonic dystrophy type I, a rare genetic disease that causes progressive muscle atrophy, weakness, and disabling muscle spasms. It is the most common type of muscular dystrophy in adults, and Isis said there are about 150,000 patients in the U.S., Europe, and Japan.

ISIS-DMPKRx is designed to correct the genetic defect that causes the disorder. Isis said human testing of the drug should begin in in 2014.

THE BIG PICTURE: Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. reported revenue for the first six months of the year of just under $81.5 million.

Isis and Biogen Idec Inc. have announced four separate collaborations in the last two years. In January 2012, the companies said they would work together on a treatment for spinal muscular atrophy. Later that year, they agreed to work together on a treatment for myotonic dystrophy type I. Biogen could pay Isis more than $200 million as part of each deal, and Isis will also get royalty payments if the drugs are approved.

In September, Biogen agreed to pay Isis $100 million upfront to start a partnership on therapies designed to treat neurological disorders. The same month Isis reported positive results from a study of ISIS-SMN, the spinal muscular atrophy treatment. The Carlsbad, Calif., company wants to start late-stage testing of ISIS-SMN in early 2014.

SHARE ACTION: Shares of Isis Pharmaceuticals have more than tripled in value since the start of the year. The stock rose 96 cents, or 3 percent, to $33.35 in midday trading. The stock set an all-time high of $39.83 on Sept. 23.

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