Biogen is entering neuropsychiatry drug development with a deal to acquire a schizophrenia drug candidate from Pfizer.
Cambridge, MA-based Biogen (NASDAQ: BIIB) is paying Pfizer $75 million up front for the drug, PF-04958242. Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) stands to gain as much as $515 million more if the drug hits development and commercialization milestones. If Biogen succeeds in bringing the drug to the market, Pfizer would also receive royalties from the drug’s sales.
Biogen’s drug portfolio is currently centered on its multiple sclerosis drugs. The company says the Pfizer drug, which is ready to start Phase 2 studies, will become the company’s first in neuropsychiatry. The drug acts on the AMPA receptor, which plays a role in how the central nervous system sends signals. Biogen says this process can be disrupted by neurological diseases such as schizophrenia. The Pfizer drug is meant to improve cognitive impairment associated with the disease.
Biogen expects to close the deal for the Pfizer drug in the second quarter.