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12:00 AM
 | 
Nov 07, 2011
 |  BioCentury  |  Strategy

Biogen picks Syk

Biogen Idec sees best-in-class potential in Portola's oral SYK inhibitor for RA

In its first significant deal since naming new heads of BD and R&D, Biogen Idec Inc. licensed a SYK inhibitor from Portola Pharmaceuticals Inc. that it hopes will overtake the first movers among oral rheumatoid arthritis products by offering better tolerability and more convenient dosing. PRT062607 will begin Phase IIa testing for RA in 2H12.

Steven Holtzman and Douglas Williams joined in January as EVPs of corporate strategy and R&D, respectively, to revamp Biogen Idec's pipeline. Part of the plan is to fill a gap in Phase I and Phase II programs in neurology, immunology and hematology via licensing or acquisition (see BioCentury, Aug. 29).

According to Holtzman, PRT062607 ticked all the right boxes.

Biogen Idec began looking at the program during his first week on the job, "and the more we learned about the compound, the better we liked it," he said. In late October, Portola granted Biogen Idec exclusive, worldwide rights to PRT062607 to treat...

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