Elan sues Biogen to salvage partnership


Elan and Biogen Idec have come to blows--in court, at least. The Irish drugmaker has sued Biogen, claiming that its Tysabri partner was trying to sandbag a recent $1.5 billion deal with Johnson & Johnson.

In the suit, Elan said it received a letter from Biogen alleging that Elan had breached the Tysabri collaboration agreement. Apparently, Biogen is crying foul over an agreement between Elan and J&J on Tysabri, which Elan officials only recently acknowledged. As you know, if Biogen were acquired by another firm, Elan would have the right to buy out its partner's Tysabri share. Well, Elan has given J&J an option to buy half of Tysabri, as a way to help finance its own buyout from Biogen.

Biogen wouldn't comment for Reuters. But Elan was quick to say that it "strongly believes" it hasn't breached their collaboration deal. "There's nothing in the pending [J&J] transaction that is contrary to our collaboration agreement with Biogen Idec for Tysabri," the company said in a statement. "This is the same agreement we have been operating under for the last nine years."

Its suit in New York federal court seeks to prevent Biogen from throwing a wrench in the J&J deal. And it asks for a permanent injunction that would prevent Biogen from terminating the Tysabri partnership.

- read the Reuters story
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