Elan Corp says it has closed a deal with Johnson & Johnson which will give the US healthcare giant all the assets and rights related to the Irish drugmaker’s Alzheimer's programme.

The transaction has been sewn up just days after Elan confirmed it will receive $115 million less than previously agreed from J&J as part of a revised deal designed to save its existing collaboration with Biogen Idec for the multiple sclerosis blockbuster Tysabri (natalizumab).

Earlier this week, Elan "cured an unintended breach” of its collaboration with Biogen sparked by its announcement of the deal with J&J in July which gave the latter an option to acquire the 50% stake held in Tysabri by Biogen if control of that company changes hands.

Biogen sued, saying that deal represented a material breach of the Tysabri deal and earlier this month a US judge agreed with the US biotechnology major. In order not to forfeit its own rights to the MS blockbuster and complete the deal with J&J, Elan was therefore forced to revise its pact with the latter. Now, Elan will now receive just $885 million instead of $1 billion from J&J in exchange for 18.4% of its shares.

A further minimum payment of $500 million as previously agreed to develop most of Elan's Alzheimer's portfolio of drugs remains intact and J&J’s Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy unit will acquire the development programme, spearheaded by bapineuzumab, which is administered intravenously once every three months and is currently in Phase III trials.

A subcutaneous formulation of bapineuzumab, administered once a week, is currently in Phase II and a vaccine for Alzheimer’s, ACC-001, is also in Phase II trials. Janssen Alzheimer Immunotherapy is based in Dublin and has R&D facilities in South San Francisco.