Biogen to Acquire Novel Clinical Stage Asset with Application in Alzheimer’s Disease and Parkinson’s Disease

Biogen Inc. recently announced an agreement to acquire from Pfizer Inc. a novel CNS-penetrant small molecule inhibitor of casein kinase 1 (CK1), for the potential treatment of patients with behavioral and neurological symptoms across various psychiatric and neurological diseases. In particular, Biogen plans to develop the Phase 1 asset for the treatment of Sundowning in Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Irregular Sleep Wake Rhythm Disorder (ISWRD) in Parkinson’s disease (PD). 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.

“This asset is highly complementary to our existing pipeline of potential disease-modifying therapies in Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases,” said Alfred Sandrock Jr., MD, PhD, 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 behavioral and neurological symptoms.”

CK1 is a key regulator of the “central clock,” the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus, that controls circadian rhythm and impacts nearly all vital 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 nighttime 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 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 1a clinical study. Biogen aims to initiate a Phase 1b study in Q4 2020.

This transaction will be accounted for as an asset acquisition and 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.

At Biogen, our mission is clear: we are pioneers in neuroscience. Biogen discovers, develops and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological and neurodegenerative diseases as well as related therapeutic adjacencies. One of the world’s first global biotechnology companies, Biogen was founded in 1978 by Charles Weissmann, Heinz Schaller, Kenneth Murray and Nobel Prize winners Walter Gilbert and Phillip Sharp. Today Biogen has the leading portfolio of medicines to treat multiple sclerosis, has introduced the first approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, commercializes biosimilars of advanced biologics and is focused on advancing research programs in multiple sclerosis and neuroimmunology, Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, neuromuscular disorders, movement disorders, ophthalmology, immunology, neurocognitive disorders, acute neurology and pain.  For more information, visit