That big Biogen deal you were waiting for? Keep waiting

Still waiting for that big Biogen $BIIB pact? 

This isn’t it.

Michael Ehlers

Biogen has journeyed to Tokyo for its latest drug deal, picking up an option on a thrombolytic agent that could protect acute ischemic stroke patients. Biogen is paying $4 million upfront to bag the option from TMS, led by Professor Keiji Hasumi’s team of scientists from Tokyo Univesity of Agriculture and Technology. If they pick up the option, it will cost Biogen another $18 million, with a $335 million package of milestones.

The program is now coded as TMS-007, which is described as a plasminogen activator that can break down blood clots.

Jeff Capello

Analysts have been waiting for Biogen to do something that can whip some enthusiasm for the company’s pipeline, which is light on near-term stock catalysts. This clearly isn’t it, but the deal does underscore the company’s plodding strategy for adding on new drugs to the pipeline.

“Our premium is on adding to the pipeline,” noted CFO Jeff Capello during the latest quarterly sit-down with analysts, “given our commercial footprint and our manufacturing footprint and trying to bring in assets that are closer to being market ready. So there’s certainly a preference to kind of look at those types of transactions. However as we go along we’ll continue to add to the pipeline with mid-stage assets and lower-stage assets where they fill in, and Mike (Ehlers) has done a great job with his team doing that. But at the same time given our capital situation our cash flow generation we can both add to the pipeline both later-stage assets and mid-stage assets and also return capital to shareholders.”

“TMS-007 complements our broader efforts in stroke, including our Phase III ready asset BIIB093 (intravenous glibenclamide), which targets prevention and treatment of edema in large hemispheric infarction, one of the most severe types of stroke,” said R&D chief Ehlers in a statement. “By growing our acute neurology portfolio, we aim to make new advances in a disease that in the past decades has seen limited therapeutic innovation.”

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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