Biogen Sells Rights to Amevive to Astellas

Astellas Pharma Canada, Inc.

today announced that U.S. affiliate company Astellas US LLC has concluded an agreement to purchase the worldwide rights to AMEVIVE(R) (alefacept) as of March 31, 2006. AMEVIVE is a biologic anti-inflammatory compound used in the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis.

Under the terms of the agreement, Astellas would acquire the worldwide rights to AMEVIVE in all indications from Biogen Idec. Biogen Idec would continue to manufacture AMEVIVE and supply the product to Astellas. The parties anticipate closing the deal as early as mid-April.

"AMEVIVE was the first biological treatment approved in Canada for moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. The acquisition of this well established product not only strengthens our dermatology franchise but also provides Astellas with an important opportunity to offer Canadian dermatologists an effective treatment option for a very difficult to treat skin disease," said Hiromu Ozaki, President of Astellas Pharma Canada.

Biogen Idec Inc. agreed to sell worldwide rights of its commercially disappointing psoriasis biologic, Amevive, to Astellas Pharma US Inc. in exchange for $60 million plus royalties.

The deal is part of Biogen's restructuring strategy, initiated last fall to concentrate resources on its development pipeline. The Cambridge, Mass.-based company decided to cut about 17 percent of its staff and divest certain assets, including Amevive, in an effort to reduce annual operating expenses by between $200 million and $300 million. (See BioWorld Today, Sept. 12, 2005.)

"Since that time, we've been talking and communicating with several potential buyers," said Jose Juves, Biogen spokesman. "We signed an agreement Friday for Astellas to get global rights [to Amevive] in all indications."

Biogen Idec Inc. reports it has sold the rights to its Amevive drug to Astellas Pharma US Inc., a company with U.S. offices in Deerfield, Ill., and corporate headquarters in Tokyo.

Amevive is a biologic anti-inflammatory compound used in the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis. The price was $60 million in a one-time cash payment plus an undisclosed amount from a royalty agreement.

Under the terms of the agreement, Astellas would acquire the worldwide rights to Amevive in all indications from Biogen Idec.

Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas has agreed to buy worldwide rights to Biogen Idec's psoriasis treatment Amevive for a reported $60 million.

The companies anticipate closing the transaction as early as mid-April. Astellas will receive rights to the drug in all indications.

Biogen Idec will continue to manufacture the anti-inflammatory biologic and supply it to Astellas, it has been reported that Biogen will receive royalties on sales of the drug on top of the $60 million.

"The acquisition of a well-established product such as Amevive strengthens our North American dermatology franchise and provides Astellas an opportunity to continue offering physicians this effective option for the treatment of moderate-to-severe plaque psoriasis," stated Dr William Fitzsimmons, senior vice president, Business Development at Astellas Pharma US.