Amicus, Biogen Team Up on Parkinson’s Drug Deal

Xconomy Boston — 

When Amicus Therapeutics’ (NASDAQ: FOLD) stock tanked a few months ago following a regulatory delay for its lead drug, CEO John Crowley promised there would be some business development moves coming to raise some cash. The Cranbury, NJ-based company followed through this morning, striking a deal with Biogen Idec (NASDAQ: BIIB) on a preclinical program for Parkinson’s Disease.

Amicus today signed a collaboration deal with Biogen to discover, develop, and commercialize small molecule drugs to treat Parkinson’s by targeting an enzyme known as glucocerobrosidase (GCase), which researchers believe may be implicated in the disease. Neither party disclosed the total value of the deal, but under it, Amicus and Biogen will work together to identify small moleucles targeting the Gcase enzyme. Biogen will cover all of the discovery, development, and commercialization costs (assuming a drug ever wins approval from regulators and hits the market), and reimburse Amicus for paying the full-time employees that work on the project. Amicus stands to collect certain unspecified development and regulatory milestones, and “modest” royalties on net sales of any drugs that come from the collaboration.

Amicus’ shares were up about 18 percent in pre-market trading Tuesday.

The deal gives Amicus a new potential way to earn revenue a few months after it told investors it would delay filing a regulatory application for its Fabry Disease drug, migalastat Hcl, feeling that it needs to complete two ongoing Phase 3 trials before it seeks FDA approval. Amicus’ shares tumbled more than 20 percent on the news, but Crowley insisted that the company was “trading time for certainty,” in that Amicus would rather wait a year or two thinking that it has a much better shot of getting the green light from regulators. He then said that Amicus had already been in discussions about partnerships, mentioning the Parkinson’s program—as well as another wholly-owned program for Pompe Disease—as potential bait for deals. Amicus, at the time, had enough cash to get it to the end of 2014, but was looking at ways to add to that total without diluting its stock.

This is the second deal for Biogen in two days, meanwhile. It just paid Carlsbad, CA-based Isis Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: ISIS) $100 million up front and will potentially shell out as much as $320 million total to develop neurology drugs using Isis’ antisense technology.