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Sep 28, 2007

Isis Pays $120M for Symphony GenIsis

  • Isis Pharmaceuticals purchased all of Symphony GenIsis’ equity for $120 million. The company thus regained intellectual property, which will be used in its partnership with Ortho-McNeil. In addition, Isis reaquired full ownership of ISIS 301012, its cholesterol-lowering drug targeting apolipoprotein B-100.

    On September 13, Isis entered a metabolic disease-focused collaboration with Ortho-McNeil to discover, develop, and commercialize up to four antisense drugs. The deal includes licensing of two drugs held by Symphony GenIsis, ISIS 325568 and ISIS 377131. These target the glucagon and glucocorticoid receptors.

    Symphony Capital Partners formed Symphony GenIsis in April 2006 to fund development of three of Isis’ drugs. These included ISIS 301012, and two diabetes programs. As part of the take-over transaction, Isis paid Symphony Capital $80.4 million in cash and the rest in approximately 3.4 million shares of Isis stock.

    Commenting on the relationship with Symphony GenIsis, B. Lynne Parshall, executive vp and CFO of Isis, says, “It provided us with the capital to advance the two diabetes programs, and with the Symphony funding we have been able to assemble a full Phase II and supportive toxicology profile for ISIS 301012, upon which we are now basing our licensing discussions for that drug.

    “Because all three of the programs appreciated in value so rapidly, we were able to purchase the Symphony GenIsis equity early in the four-year collaboration term, saving ourselves $75 million in additional capital.”



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Scientifically Studying Ecstasy

MDMA (commonly known as the empathogen “ecstasy”) is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, which is reserved for compounds with no accepted medical use and a high abuse potential. Two researchers from Stanford, however, call for a rigorous scientific exploration of MDMA's effects to identify precisely how the drug works, the data from which could be used to develop therapeutic compounds.

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