Dublin, Ireland-based Alkermes has licensed ALKS 8700, a novel, oral, small drug molecule in Phase III development for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis, to US biotech Biogen.

Under the terms of the deal, Biogen will receive an exclusive, worldwide license to commercialise the experimental therapy, and will pay Alkermes a mid-teens royalty on worldwide net sales of the drug.

Biogen will reimburse Alkermes for half of 2017’s development costs for ALKS8700, with the Irish drugmaker receiving an upfront payment of $28 million representing the US group’s share of that already incurred in the year.

From January 1, 2018, Biogen will be responsible for all development expenses related to ALKS 8700, while Alkermes could receive milestone payments maximum aggregate value of $200 million upon certain clinical and regulatory achievements.

“This collaboration has the potential to provide important benefits to patients with multiple sclerosis and immediately increases the value of ALKS 8700 to Alkermes,” said Richard Pops, Alkermes’ chief executive. “In Biogen’s hands, we believe that patients will have broader and more rapid access to this important medicine.”