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Isis, Genzyme ink potential $1.9 billion deal for cholesterol drug

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SAN FRANCISCO Isis Pharmaceuticals has entered into a deal with Genzyme that could potentially see the company receive more than $1.9 billion for its new cholesterol-lowering drug called mipomersen, according to the New York Times.

Mipomersen is in the last stage of clinical trials as a treatment for a rare genetic disease that causes people to have extremely high cholesterol levels, raising their risk of premature cardiovascular disease and death. There are only about 10,000 people in the world with the most severe form of the disease, which can cause heart attacks even in young children.

In midstage clinical trials, the drug lowered levels of cholesterol and other blood lipids more than 40 percent beyond reductions achieved by statins and other existing drugs alone, Isis told the Times.

Under terms of the deal, Genzyme will pay $150 million to purchase 5 million shares of Isis, a stake of a few percent. Genzyme will also pay a $175 million license fee and could end up paying as much as an additional $1.6 billion if the drug reaches the market and achieves certain sales goals.

The companies hope to apply in 2009 for approval of the drug.

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