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Ortho-McNeil to Partner With Isis for Diabetes Drugs

Johnson & Johnson company Ortho-McNeil Inc. will collaborate with Isis Pharmaceuticals Inc. to develop two Isis antisense drugs to target type 2 diabetes, the companies announced Sept. 13.

The deal could be worth more than $275 million if the two drug candidates, ISIS 325568 and ISIS 377131, meet developmental and regulatory milestones.

Ortho-McNeil will pay Isis $45 million upfront to license the technology. In addition to the licensing fee, Isis could receive more than $230 million in milestone payments on successful development and regulatory approvals, as well as royalties on sales.

Additionally, Ortho-McNeil will help Carlsbad-based Isis fund the joint discovery of novel drugs to treat metabolic diseases, including diabetes and obesity.

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After the collaboration phase, Johnson & Johnson Pharmaceutical Research & Development LLC would continue to develop the drugs.

Isis said it also planned to regain ownership of ISIS 301012, its promising cholesterol-lowering drug candidate, from Symphony GenIsis Inc.

Shares of Isis rose 54 cents, or about 4 percent, on Sept. 13 to close at $13.30 on Nasdaq.

, Heather Chambers

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