Pfizer to Acquire NextWave for $700 Million

Xconomy New York — 

New York-based Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) today announced that it will acquire NextWave Pharmaceuticals, a privately held specialty pharma company based in Cupertino, CA, that makes a liquid drug for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), in a transaction worth up to $700 million.

NextWave’s drug methylphenidate hydrochloride (Quillivant XR) is a liquid form of the off-patent drug Ritalin, meant to be given once a day. Quillivant XR was just approved by the Food & Drug Administration on September 27, and the company says it will be available in the U.S. starting in January. The drug was developed in collaboration with Tris Pharma, based in Monmouth Junction, NJ, using Tris’s technology for creating liquid versions of drugs.

Pfizer made an option payment of $20 million in the second quarter as part of an initial merger agreement with NextWave and will make a payment of $255 million when the transaction closes, which Pfizer said in a statement should be in the fourth quarter. Pfizer said it will pay NextWave’s shareholders up to $425 million in additional payments if certain sales milestones are met.

NextWave is also testing a chewable version of methylphenidate hydrochloride, and says it expects to submit that product for approval in 2013. The company completed a $45 million Series C financing in January 20122 that was, co-led by Panorama Capital and Bay City Capital.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that that approximately 9.5 percent of children aged 4–17 in the U.S., or 5.4 million children, have received a diagnosis of ADHD at some point.

Pfizer’s stock slipped $0.19 in early trading, to $25.57, after the deal was announced.