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1 Small Pharma Proving That Partnerships Pay

Keith Speights
December 12, 2012

If drug companies could take personality tests, Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ISIS) would probably be classified as an extrovert. The company hasn't had any trouble making friends lately. Isis announced two significant partnership deals just this week.

Three in a row
On Monday, Isis released information about a new collaboration agreement with Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB). This is the third partnership between the two companies using Isis' antisense drug platform. Antisense drugs focus on binding to one gene in an RNA molecule to limit production of proteins that cause specific diseases. 

The first two deals, announced earlier in 2012, targeted treatment of spinal muscular atrophy and myotonic dystrophy type 1. The latest collaboration relates to development of antisense drugs targeting three undisclosed neurological or neuromuscular disorders. 

Under the terms of the most recent partnership agreement, Isis will develop drugs through the end of phase 2 trials. Biogen will have the option to license the drugs up until that point and carry out the remainder of the development and commercialization efforts.

New generation
One day after the news release about the Biogen deal, Isis announced another partnership with AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN). The alliance allows AstraZeneca to benefit from Isis' development of antisense drugs