Biogen To Acquire Clinical-Stage CNS Asset from Pfizer in $710-M Deal

By Emily Forster -

January 16, 2020

Biogen has agreed to acquire from Pfizer a clinical-stage small-molecule drug for treating neurological diseases in a deal worth up to $710 million ($75 million upfront and $635 million in potential milestones).

The drug, a central nervous system (CNS) small-molecule inhibitor of casein kinase 1 (CK1), is a potential treatment of patients with behavioral and neurological symptoms across various psychiatric and neurological diseases. The purchase will include an upfront payment of $75 million with up to $635 million in potential additional development and commercialization milestone payments as well as tiered royalties in the high single digits to sub-teens. In particular, Biogen plans to develop the Phase I asset for the treatment of sundowning in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and irregular sleep wake rhythm disorder (ISWRD) in Parkinson’s disease (PD).

CK1 is a key regulator of the so-called “central clock,” the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus, that controls circadian rhythm and impacts physiology and metabolism. The disruption of circadian rhythm is associated with various psychiatric and neurological diseases, including certain important symptoms of AD and PD. Sundowning is a symptom that impacts 20% or more of AD patients who become confused, anxious, aggressive, agitated or restless later in the day. ISWRD is a circadian rhythm disorder where patients experience fragmented night-time sleep leading to daytime sleepiness, severe fatigue and difficulty with activities of daily living. It is one of the non-motor symptoms of PD and usually increases in frequency over the course of the disease and disability progression.

Biogen will explore the potential of the drug, PF-05251749, to improve behavioral disturbances of sundowning in AD by correcting circadian rhythm as well as its potential to treat symptoms of ISWRD to improve daytime wakefulness, sleep quality, behavior and daily function. PF-05251749 has previously demonstrated an acceptable safety profile and proof of mechanism in a Phase Ia clinical study, according to information from Biogen. Biogen aims to initiate a Phase Ib study in the fourth quarter of 2020.   

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 US.

Biogen expects the transaction to close in the first quarter of 2020.

Source: Biogen