Largest Biotech IPO Yet Could Be Derailed By Forward Pharma, Biogen Idec Patent Fight

Published: Oct 15, 2014

Largest Biotech IPO Yet Could Be Derailed By Forward, Biogen Patent Fight

October 15, 2014

By Riley McDermid, Breaking News Sr. Editor

The largest biotech IPO yet, when Danish firm Forward Pharma debuts its $200 million offering later this year, could be derailed by Forward’s recent announcement that it will challenge Biogen Idec’s patent on multiple sclerosis drug, Tecfidera.

The drug has been a bonanza for Idec, with Biogen projecting revenues of $9.9 billion for 2014, a large chunk of which is due to sales of Tecfidera.

But Forward says it owns the patent to the active ingredient in the drug, a slow-release form of dimethyl.

Forward says in a recent U.S. Securities and Exchange filing that it believes it would be named the “senior party” in the proceeding, likely to be held in the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

Analysts have speculated that one of the reasons Forward is attempting to raise such a large IPO of 9.5 million shares at between $20 and $22 each is to help it beat Biogen in the potentially lucrative patent fight. For its part, Biogen has long maintained it acquired its formulation of DMF when it acquired Swiss biotech Fumapharm AG in 2006. Forward had in its portfolio some rights to a slow-release formulations of DMF after it snapped up Aditech Pharma the year before.

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