Biogen Idec will partner with Eisai to develop two of the Japanese pharma’s clinical-phase Alzheimer’s disease drug candidates.

The value of the collaboration was not disclosed, though the companies did say Biogen Idec will provide Eisai with an upfront payment and a fixed amount of development, approval and commercial milestone payments. Eisai could also receive an additional one-time payment from Biogen Idec related to joint development and commercialization activities in Japan.

Under their collaboration, the companies will co-develop and co-commercialize Eisai’s E2609, a β-site amyloid precursor protein cleaving enzyme (BACE) inhibitor, and BAN2401, an anti-Aβ antibody.

According to Eisai, the drug candidates are designed to fight the disease by reducing Aβ plaques that form in the brains of patients with the disease, as well as halt the formation of new plaques.

“Eisai’s candidates have demonstrated compelling early data and complement our AD research while extending our pipeline in this critical area,” Biogen Idec CEO George A. Scangos, Ph.D., said in a statement. “This collaboration is a natural fit with our mission to develop therapies for patients with severe neurodegenerative diseases.”

Eisai also won an option to jointly develop and commercialize two Biogen Idec drug candidates for Alzheimer’s, the anti-amyloid beta (Aβ) antibody BIIB037 and an anti-tau monoclonal antibody.

BIIB037 is currently undergoing a Phase Ib clinical trial.

Eisai will serve as the operational and regulatory lead in co-developing E2609 and BAN2401 and pursue marketing authorizations for both compounds worldwide. In major markets, such as the U.S. and E.U., Eisai and Biogen Idec said they will also co-promote the products following marketing approval.

Both companies will share overall costs, including research and development expenses, with Eisai booking all sales for E2609 and BAN2401, while profits will be split between the companies.

E2609 is preparing to enter Phase II clinical trials, the companies said, while BAN2401 – for which Eisai obtained global rights from BioArctic Neuroscience in 2007 — is already under way with Phase II clinical trials.

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