Biogen Idec annouces pair of autoimmune-focused partnerships

Biogen Idec will collaborate with Array BioPharma for novel kinase inhibitors and stands as the official partner and a sponsor of the Sailing Sclerosis Foundation

Kelsey Kaustinen
BOULDER, Colo.—Array BioPharma and Biogen Idec have inked a collaboration agreement to discover and develop inhibitors that target a novel kinase as a treatment for autoimmune disorders.
 
Per the terms of the agreement, the companies will collaborate on the discovery of the novel kinase inhibitors, with Biogen Idec assuming responsibility for all aspects of clinical development and commercialization. Though no specific financial details were disclosed, the agreement includes research funding for three years, several milestone payments dependent on the achievement of certain development and commercial milestones and royalties for Array.
 
“We look forward to collaborating with Biogen on this exciting target,” Dr. Nicholas A. Saccomano, chief scientific officer at Array, commented in a statement. “With 15 Array-invented drugs currently in clinical development benchmarking the quality of our science, we are confident in the team’s ability to advance the program with the ultimate goal of improving care for patients with inflammatory disease.”
 
The target of the collaboration and the lead inhibitors were discovered through the use of Array’s proprietary Kinase-Directed Phenotypic Screening Platform, which draws on the company’s experience with kinase inhibitor chemistry and phenotypic screening.
 
“Array has a strong track record in the discovery of novel compounds, and we are delighted to collaborate with them. We are encouraged by the potential of this program to address inflammatory disease and are excited to add it to our immunology research portfolio,” Dr. Jo Viney, vice president of Immunology Research at Biogen Idec, said in a press release.
 
Biogen Idec announced a second partnership with an autoimmune focus the same day. The company joined the Sailing Sclerosis Foundation’s (SSF) Oceans of Hope project as principal sponsor and official partner. The multi-year, global initiative aims to use sailing as a method of educating and empowering the multiple sclerosis community by demonstrating the benefits of an active lifestyle and changing mindsets on living with the disease. Dr. Mikkel Anthonisen, founder of SSF and a multiple sclerosis specialist at Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, pioneered the project.
 
“We are delighted to partner with Biogen Idec. Oceans of Hope aims to change perceptions of MS by showing what is possible when people with a chronic disease are empowered to conquer their individual challenges,” said Anthonisen. “As a physician, I see that each person who has MS is unique and needs access to different resources to treat their individual disease. The voyage will also carry this year’s World MS Day theme of access across the globe, building stronger bonds across the global MS and sailing communities.”
 
The boat will officially launch from Copenhagen, Denmark on June 15, from where it will proceed to make stops in a number of harbors in Europe, North America, South America and Australia.
 
“We are proud to be a part of the Oceans of Hope project, which fits perfectly with our more than three decade commitment to supporting the MS community through innovative science and patient programs,” said David Allsop, senior vice president, Europe and Canada for Biogen Idec. “Treatment of MS needs to be holistic – incorporating the right therapies with community programs and resources. Through its message of empowerment, we believe that Oceans of Hope can benefit thousands of patients around the world.”

Kelsey Kaustinen

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