Biogen Buys Alzheimer’s Compound for $75 Million, Deepening Bet

(Bloomberg) -- Biogen Inc. will buy an experimental Alzheimer’s disease drug from Pfizer Inc. for $75 million, plus additional future payments, extending its wager on therapies for the neurodegenerative condition.

The drug, known as PF-05251749, will be developed to treat what’s known as sundowning in Alzheimer’s patients, a condition in which patients get more confused, aggressive or restless as a day goes on. The drug will compliment Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Biogen’s experimental drug aducanumab, which is meant to treat the fundamental causes of Alzheimer’s.

Along with the $75 million payment, Biogen said in a statement Monday that it will give Pfizer as much as $635 million depending whether the drug hits certain development and commercial milestones, plus sales royalties.

Aducanumab, Biogen’s main bet on Alzheimer’s disease, has been colored by controversy. After the drug appeared to be a failure, Biogen announced last year that it had seen promising signs in a clinical trial that were enough to send the drug to U.S. regulators for a potential approval for use in patients.

The planned acquisition of the Pfizer drug reinforces the company’s bet on the disease. Given the complex nature of Alzheimer’s and the failure of every experimental drug so far to stop its progress, patients are almost certain to be treated with a combination of therapies meant to treat both symptoms and the condition’s underlying causes.

Biogen said it will also develop PF-05251749 for irregular sleep-wake rhythm disorder in Parkinson’s disease.

Biogen said it expects the deal to close in the first quarter.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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