$1bn deal gives Biogen rights to one clinical candidate and several earlier-stage programmes for rare eye diseases

US biotech firm Biogen has agreed a collaboration deal with ophthalmic gene therapy specialist AGTC. The deal covers AGTC’s development programmes for several rare eye diseases using a viral-based gene delivery vector.

Biogen will pay $124 million (£80 million) up front, including $30 million for an approximately 9% share in the company. AGTC will also be eligible for performance milestone payments of over $1 billion across all the programmes covered by the deal, plus royalties on any drugs that make it to market. Biogen will have worldwide commercialisation rights and a licence to use AGTC’s proprietary viral delivery technology to develop gene therapies – some of which may come from outside AGTC.

Biogen is also stepping up its own manufacturing capacity for biological drugs, building a new plant in Switzerland that will create 400 new jobs from 2019.