Biogen to Acquire Asset for Schizophrenia Treatment from Pfizer

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Biogen will acquire an AMPA receptor potentiator for cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia in a deal worth approximately $590 million.

Biogen has agreed to acquire a Phase IIb-ready, α-amino-3-hydroxy-5-methyl-4-isoxazole propionic-acid (AMPA) receptor potentiator known as PF-04958242 from Pfizer for cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia (CIAS). The deal is worth approximately $590 million, which includes an upfront payment of $75 million, up to $515 million in additional development and commercialization milestone payments, and tiered royalties in the low-to-mid-teen percentages, Biogen announced in a March 12, 2018 press release.

The transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including the expiration of the applicable waiting period under the Hart Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act of 1976 in the United States. Biogen expects to close the deal in the second quarter of 2018.

AMPA receptors are known to mediate fast excitatory synaptic transmission in the central nervous system. This is a process that can be disrupted in a number of neurological and psychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia, according to Biogen.

The company points out that PF-04958242 has previously demonstrated an acceptable safety profile and treatment effect trends across multiple domains of cognition in Phase Ib clinical studies. Biogen aims to initiate a Phase IIb trial in the second half of 2018.


“As pioneers in neuroscience, Biogen continues to explore new ways to treat serious diseases where there are few or no options, such as CIAS,” stated Michel Vounatsos, Biogen CEO, in a company press release. “Given the significant unmet patient need and Biogen’s ability to apply its scientific expertise in this area, we are enthusiastic to advance development of this asset as we continue to expand our neuroscience pipeline, including in our emerging growth areas such as neuropsychiatry.”

“When cognition is impaired, you lose the ability to make sense of the world. Things we often take for granted in our daily lives, including processing information, planning and remembering, all become difficult or impossible,” said Michael Ehlers, executive vice president, Research & Development at Biogen, in the press release. “Cognition can be impaired in multiple neurological and neuropsychiatric diseases, including schizophrenia. And we know that the extent of cognitive deficits in patients with schizophrenia is a strong predictor of daily functioning. We look forward to quickly pursuing development of this potential innovative therapy to treat such a devastating disease.”

Source: Biogen