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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Biogen's purchase of MS drug ends rocky partnership with Elan, (NASDAQ: BIIB)

Biogen Idec Inc's agreement to purchase Elan Corp Plc's interest in the multiple sclerosis drug Tysabri gives Biogen full control of a product that is poised for further growth and ends a long partnership that has often been contentious. Analysts have speculated for several years that Biogen could acquire Elan to take control of Tysabri. The current agreement, under which Biogen will pay Elan $3.25 billion in cash plus royalties, gives Biogen the asset it is most interested in while leaving Elan with money to spend on acquisitions and to develop its pipeline of experimental drugs."With this deal Biogen does not have to deal with Elan's pipeline baggage," said David Ferreiro, an analyst at Oppenheimer & Co.Still, analysts expressed some surprise that Biogen has chosen this moment to double down on Tysabri. The company is poised to launch a new MS drug, BG-12, at the end of March. The drug, if approved, will be sold under the brand name Tecfidera. It is expected by many investors to become the leading treatment for the disease but is set to lose patent protection in the mid to late 2020s."By that point, BG-12 could be the dominant MS therapy. And then it will suddenly go to zero," said Mark Schoenebaum, an analyst at ISI Group.

Biogen Idec Inc. (Biogen Idec) is a global biotechnology company. Shares of BIIB traded higher by 2.3% or $3.62/share to $160.98. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $114.53 and as high as $158.39. On average, 1299780 shares of BIIB exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 2857616.