Biogen Idec and Neurimmune Announce Agreement on Three Neurodegenerative Disease Programs

WESTON, Mass. & ZURICH, Dec 20, 2010 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) and Neurimmune Holding AG today announced that Biogen Idec has acquired a subsidiary of Neurimmune, which includes the world-wide rights to three pre-clinical immunotherapy programs. The three programs are focused on the discovery and development of novel human antibodies that address three central nervous system (CNS) targets: alpha-synuclein, tau and TDP-43. These targets are believed to be relevant for the treatment and prevention of a wide variety of neurodegenerative diseases, including Parkinson's disease, Alzheimer's disease and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Biogen Idec will make an initial payment of $32.5 million and up to $395 million in contingent payments.

This acquisition builds on a 2007 agreement between the two companies to explore human antibodies against beta-amyloid for the treatment and prevention of Alzheimer's disease. The three pre-clinical candidates complement the existing research collaboration by targeting three different neurotoxic proteins, the mis-folding of which is thought to be the cause of many neurodegenerative diseases.

Biogen Idec will be responsible for the development of the pre-clinical candidates and the commercialization of all products. Neurimmune will be responsible for additional scientific activities with respect to the lead candidates as well as the discovery of back-up candidates, utilizing its Reverse Translational Medicine(TM) technology platform. Neurimmune retains the right to use its platform for creating therapeutic antibody products outside the scope of its agreement with Biogen Idec.

"Biogen Idec is committed to becoming the global leader in the development of innovative therapies for neurodegenerative diseases," said Alfred Sandrock, MD, Ph.D., Senior Vice President, Neurology Research and Development, Biogen Idec. "Neurimmune continues to impress us with their ability to translate scientific insights into innovative antibodies for the potential treatment and prevention of many neurodegenerative diseases. The unmet medical need among patients suffering from devastating neurodegenerative diseases is high, and we are excited to be moving these three promising programs forward."

"We are pleased that Biogen Idec decided to acquire these candidate therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases," said Roger Nitsch, founder and Director of Neurimmune. "With its world-class expertise in the development, manufacturing and marketing of therapeutic antibodies for neurological diseases, Biogen Idec is the perfect strategic fit to drive the successful development of Neurimmune's antibodies."

"We are proud of what our team has achieved in proving once again the power of our human antibody discovery platform to generate highly valuable candidates for the development of immunotherapies for CNS indications," said Jan Grimm, founder and CSO of Neurimmune.

About Biogen Idec

Biogen Idec uses cutting-edge science to discover, develop, manufacture and market biological products for the treatment of serious diseases with a focus on neurological disorders. Founded in 1978, Biogen Idec is the world's oldest independent biotechnology company. Patients worldwide benefit from its leading multiple sclerosis therapies, and the company generates more than $4 billion in annual revenues. For product labeling, press releases and additional information about the company, please visit

About Neurimmune

Neurimmune is a privately held Swiss biotechnology company focusing on the development of novel human antibody therapeutics for the treatment and prevention of common human diseases. Based upon its unique Reverse Translational Medicine(TM) technology platform, Neurimmune has created a strong and sustainable pipeline of human antibody programs targeting CNS indication areas. Neurimmune's business strategy focuses on the development of therapeutic antibodies at early stages of the pharmaceutical value chain and partnering product candidates for later-stage development and marketing. For additional information, please visit