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Biogen picks up Pfizer's Phase 1 therapy for Alzheimer's symptoms in potential $700m deal

Published on 14/01/20 at 10:10am

Biogen has entered into an agreement with Pfizer to acquire the latter’s Phase 1 candidate PF-05251749 in order to develop it into a treatment for “behavioural and neurological symptoms across various psychiatric and neurological diseases”, it has emerged.

Particularly, within the deal Biogen has its eye on the candidate as a means to treat sundowning in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a symptom present in at least 20% of Alzheimer’s patients characterised by confusion, anxiety, restlessness or aggression in the late afternoon or early evening.

In addition, the company plans to pursue the candidate in the treatment of Irregular Sleep Wake Rhythm Disorder (ISWRD) in Parkinson’s disease (PD), a disorder of a patient’s circadian rhythm which can disrupt sleep, leading to drowsiness or even severe fatigue during the day.

Pfizer’s candidate has passed through a Phase 1a study, demonstrating its proof of mechanism and an acceptable safety profile. Biogen confirmed it plans to send the drug through to Phase 1b studies in the fourth quarter of this year.

The deal was signed for a $75 million upfront payment from Biogen, with further development and commercialisation milestone payments available up to the value of $635 million.

“This asset is highly complementary to our existing pipeline of potential disease-modifying therapies in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases,” said Dr Alfred Sandrock Jr, Executive Vice President, Research and Development and Chief Medical Officer at Biogen. “Many patients with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s suffer from debilitating sleep disorders and agitation, and we believe that the regulation of the circadian rhythm may hold promise in addressing these challenging behavioural and neurological symptoms.”

 The transaction is expected to close in the first quarter of this year.

Matt Fellows

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