Biogen to acquire Pfizer neurology drug in a deal that could reach $600m

Pharma acquisition news : US biotechnology company Biogen has made a deal with Pfizer to buy the latter’s neurology drug candidate PF-04958242, which is being developed for the treatment of a symptom associated with schizophrenia.

The deal is potentially almost $600 million with an upfront payment of $75 million followed up by additional milestone payments relating to development and commercialization of the drug and also royalties, that could in total fetch up to $515 million for Pfizer.

PF-04958242, which is currently ready for phase 2 development, is an AMPA receptor potentiator for cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia (CIAS).

AMPA receptors mediate fast excitatory synaptic transmission in the central nervous system. In various neurological and psychiatric diseases like schizophrenia, this process can be disrupted.

Previously, the Pfizer neurology drug PF-04958242 had shown an acceptable safety profile and treatment effect trends in various domains of cognition in phase 1b trials.

Biogen is looking to launch a phase 2b trial in the second half of this year.

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Company announcement. Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at

Commenting on Biogen acquisition of the Pfizer neurology drug, Michel Vounatsos – CEO of Biogen, said: “As pioneers in neuroscience, Biogen continues to explore new ways to treat serious diseases where there are few or no options, such as CIAS.

“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.”

According to Biogen, there are more than 20 million people who suffer from schizophrenia. Most of them are estimated to be living with some degree of cognitive impairment associated with the neurological disease.

The US biotechnology company further said that cognitive impairment is increasingly considered to be among the greatest unmet needs in treating schizophrenia effectively.

Michael Ehlers – executive vice president, Research & Development at Biogen, explained: “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.

“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.”

Biogen acquisition of the Pfizer neurology drug is expected to be completed by the second quarter of this year, should it satisfy customary closing conditions.

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