Biogen has bought full access to Mitsubishi Tanabe’s MT-1303, an experimental oral compound with potential in autoimmune indications, in a deal that could be worth more than $500 million to the latter group.

The drug, which targets the sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor, has completed a successful Phase II clinical trial in MS, and Biogen said it is evaluating a rapid development programme in this indication. 

The US biotech also plans to initiate a clinical trial in ulcerative colitis and may advance an existing programme in Crohn’s disease to Phase III.

Under terms of the deal, Biogen will receive worldwide rights to MT-1303, excluding Asia, in return for an upfront payment to Mitsubushi of $60 million and up to $484 million in additional milestone payments for multiple indications and territories.