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Biogen Idec to Purchase Syntonix and Its Experimental Hemophilia B Drug

Biogen Idec, a biotechnology company headquartered in Cambridge, MA, announced that it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Syntonix Pharmaceuticals of Waltham, MA. Biogen will pay Syntonix $40 million when the deal is closed, in addition to payments of up to $80 million contingent upon particular development goals.

With the acquisition, Biogen will obtain Syntonix’s experimental research into therapeutic products for the treatment of chronic diseases such as anemia, autoimmune disorders and hemophilia. In January 2006, Syntonix and Biovitrum AB, another Sweden-based company, agreed to jointly develop and commercialize a recombinant factor IX product (FIX) to treat hemophilia B.

“Syntonix brings promising science and technology to areas of unmet medical need such as hemophilia, and we look forward to building on their expertise with Biogen Idec's global development, manufacturing and commercial capabilities,” said James C. Mullen, President and CEO of Biogen Idec.

Currently, BeneFIX®, which is manufactured by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, is the only recombinant factor IX product licensed by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It received FDA approval for treatment of hemophilia B patients in 1997. Sometime this year, Syntonix plans to request FDA approval for clinical trials of FIX: Fc, its long-lasting FIX product, an experimental therapy in humans.

The companies are positioning their new drug as having the potential to decrease the frequency of infusions required for people with hemophilia B. “As a global leader in biomanufacturing and serving niche markets, Biogen Idec is well poised to deliver on the promise of hemophilia therapies that require less frequent dosing,” said John W. Ripple, CEO of Syntonix.

Source: (online) and Biogen news release, both dated January 4, 2007