Biogen Idec has inked a licensing agreement with Knopp Neurosciences to develop and commercialize KNS-760704 (dexpramipexole) for the treatment of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and potentially other indications. Dexpramipexole is a low-molecular-weight benzothiazole that has been shown to improve mitochondrial function and impart cellular protection to neurons under stress. It has received orphan drug and fast track designation from FDA. Biogen Idec will initiate Phase III clinical trials in the first half of next year. Under the agreement, Biogen Idec will pay Knopp $20 million up front, buy $60 million in Knopp stock, and potentially dole out $265 million in milestone payments.