Biogen Idec has signed a fresh pact with Isis Pharmaceuticals to discover and develop antisense drugs against three undisclosed targets to treat neurological or neuromuscular disorders.

The collaboration follows two agreements between the firms which were announced earlier in 2012, to develop antisense drugs for the treatment of spinal muscular atrophy and myotonic dystrophy type 1. Under the terms of the new deal, Isis will receive an upfront fee of $30 million and is eligible to receive "substantial development milestone payments" to support R&D of each programme prior to Biogen exercising an option to license a drug from each of the three programmes through the completion of Phase II trials.

Isis could bank another $200 million per programme and will receive double-digit royalties. Richard Brudnick, co-head of business development at Biogen, said that "this will be our third collaboration with Isis, which is reflective of our respect for them as a partner and as a leader in antisense technology".