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Biogen-Amicus in Parkinson's Deal

Zacks Equity Research

Shortly after announcing its fourth collaboration with Isis Pharmaceuticals (ISIS), biotech company Biogen Idec (BIIB) announced another deal – this time with biopharma company, Amicus Therapeutics (FOLD).

Biogen and Amicus will collaborate for the identification, development and commercialization of Parkinson’s disease treatments.

The collaboration is based on preclinical studies performed by Amicus as well as independent published research which indicate that increasing activity of the lysosomal enzyme glucocerobrosidase (GCase) in the brain may correct alpha-synuclein pathology and other deficits associated with Parkinson's disease.

Amicus’ expertise in the discovery of novel small molecules that increase GCase activity in the brain will be put to use under this multi-year collaboration for the identification of potential treatments for Parkinson’s.

Biogen, in turn, has agreed to finance all discovery, development, and commercialization activities. Biogen will also reimburse Amicus for all full-time employees involved in the project. Moreover, Biogen will make development and regulatory based milestone payments and royalties on worldwide sales.

The deal is in-line with Biogen’s efforts to expand its neurodegenerative diseases pipeline. Meanwhile, Amicus is gaining a strong development partner in the form of Biogen.

While Amicus is a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) stock, Biogen currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). Key products, Avonex and Tysabri, should continue contributing significantly to sales. Tecfidera should help drive long-term growth. Biogen has several development and regulatory catalysts coming up in the next few quarters. With Tecfidera launched, we expect investor focus to remain on its commercialization and sales ramp up.

Other stocks that currently look well-positioned and which carry a Zacks Rank #1 include Gilead Sciences Inc. (GILD).

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