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Biogen Idec acquires Stromedix for $75 million
by Kelsey Kaustinen  |  Email the author


WESTON & CAMBRIDGE, Mass.Biogen Idec is looking at gaining a possible foothold in fibrotic therapies soon, having announced that it has entered into a definitive agreement with biotechnology company Stromedix Inc., under which Biogen Idec will acquire the privately held company. Biogen Idec will make a cash payment of $75 million upfront, with the possibility for additional contingent value payments of up to $487.5 million if certain development and approval milestones are achieved across multiple indications. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.
"Fibrotic organ failure, and in particular [idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis] (IPF), is a terrible disease with a high mortality rate, and there are no effective treatments at this time," Douglas E. Williams, EVP, R&D at Biogen Idec, said in a press release. "We believe STX-100 has the potential to be a best-in-class therapy and it is an excellent strategic fit with our focus on highly differentiated programs with the potential to make a real difference for patients. The Phase 2 program complements our scientific expertise and advances our research and development efforts in immunology. We are pleased to welcome Mike and his team back to Biogen Idec to drive STX-100's continued development. Their work in advancing STX-100 through Phase 1 and developing biomarkers to inform upcoming clinical trials increases the likelihood of bringing a much-needed therapy to patients. This acquisition brings together our scientific strengths and capabilities with a clear goal of providing highly effective therapies to patients suffering from fibrosis."  
STX-100 is Stromedix's lead candidate, a novel humanized monoclonal antibody that selectively disrupts the TGF-beta pathway, which is known to figure centrally in fibrotic disease. In preclinical animal models, the compound was shown to cause significant anti-fibrotic activity in addition to displaying an appealing safety and tolerability profile in Phase I trials. In addition, Stromedix also has pinpointed a series of clinical biomarkers that reflects STX-100's biological activity, and the compound is entering a Phase II trial in patients with IPF. The compound has exhibited anti-fibrotic activity in preclinical models of lung, kidney and liver disease, and Stromedix notes on its website that it intends to develop the novel molecule in several clinical indications.
IPF is a debilitating lung disease which is almost uniformly fatal, and currently, no treatment for the disease has yet won U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval. Patients with IPF suffer from progressive breathing problems due to fibrosis, or scarring, of the lungs, and more than 200,000 patients in the United States and Europe suffer from the disease.  
"With a well- established understanding of the fundamental biology and tremendous unmet medical need, fibrosis is one of the most exciting and dynamic areas of drug development today," Michael Gilman, Ph.D., Founder and CEO of Stromedix, said in a press release. "We appreciate Biogen Idec's focus in immunology and their tremendous international R&D and commercial capabilities. By joining forces, we expect to accelerate the development of STX-100 and other promising early-stage drug candidates. This begins a new chapter for all of us at Stromedix, and we look forward to a bright future as part of Biogen Idec."  
Prior to the founding of Stromedix, Gilman led Biogen Idec's research organization from 2000 to 2005.    
SOURCE: Stromedix press release
Code: E02141201



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