April 13, 2017 / 11:32 AM / 4 months ago

Bristol-Myers to license two drugs to Biogen, Roche

(Reuters) - Bristol-Myers Squibb Co said on Thursday it would license two of its drugs to Biogen Inc and Roche Holding AG for an upfront fee of $470 million.

Bristol will license its experimental neurodegenerative disorder drug, BMS-986168, to Biogen as a treatment for progressive supranuclear palsy, which is characterized by brain cell damage.

Biogen said the drug also had the potential for use in Alzheimer's disease.

BMS-986089, Bristol's rare muscle-wasting disease drug, will be licensed by Roche for use in duchenne muscular dystrophy.

Bristol, which will receive an upfront payment of $300 million from Biogen and $170 million from Roche, said it expects the deals to close in the second quarter.

The deals come amid activist investor pressure. The Wall Street Journal reported in February that billionaire investor Carl Icahn had taken a stake in Bristol and saw the company as a possible takeover target.

Bristol also added three directors to its board in February, a move supported by JANA Partners LLC, an activist investor building a stake in the company's stock.

The drugmaker has fallen behind Merck & Co Inc in the key field of immuno-oncology after its Opdivo drug failed to prolong survival in previously untreated patients with non-small cell lung cancer, the largest cancer market.

Reporting by Akankshita Mukhopadhyay in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel

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