Shares of Isis PharmaceuticalsÂ rocketed up 45 percent after the biotech announced that Genzyme had signed on as a partner to develop the promising cardiovascular drug mipomersen, its flagship product. Genzyme is paying a whopping $175 million in an upfront fee and will buy five percent of the company. Potential milestone payments could make the deal worth more than $1.9 billion. Genzyme survived a bidding war that involved 10 companies interested in mipomersen, according to Isis.
The drug blocks a gene that opens the gate to cholesterol in the blood. It's now about to enter Phase III trials after posting some impressive data for lowering bad cholesterol. Isis can now budget a maximum of $75 million in new discovery costs for the program with Genzyme shouldering the rest of the load. Genzyme, which has emerged as an aggressive biotech powerhouse, also gets "preferred access" to other Isis therapies in the future.