Biogen has signed an exclusive option agreement to buy Japan-based biotechnology company TMS’ TMS-007 drug candidate being developed for the treatment of acute ischemic stroke (AIS).
The agreement also covers TMS-007’s backup compounds and involves a $4m upfront payment from Biogen, which will pay another $18m if and when it decides to exercise its option.
TMS also is eligible for a potential $335m of development and commercialisation milestone-based payments, as well with tiered royalties.
TMS-007 is a small molecule plasminogen activator designed to break down blood clots and is believed to also block local inflammation at the thrombosis site.
Biogen claims that the drug candidate’s capability to perform both these functions make it an ideal thrombolytic for AIS, with scope for expanded treatment window.
Biogen Research and Development executive vice-president Michael Ehlers said: “Stroke impacts millions of people every year, and is a leading cause of death and long-term disability worldwide.
“TMS-007 complements our broader efforts in stroke, including our Phase III ready asset BIIB093 (intravenous glibenclamide), which targets prevention and treatment of oedema in large hemispheric infarction, one of the most severe types of stroke.
“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.”
TMS-007 is being studied in Japan in a double-blind, placebo-controlled Phase II clinical trial to assess the safety and efficacy of its single IV administration in around 60-90 AIS patients up to 12 hours following stroke onset.
Results from Phase I trial are said to have indicated acceptable safety profile, while pre-clinical studies in animal embolic and thrombotic stroke models revealed decreased infarct volume.