March 12, 2018 / 11:47 AM / 9 months ago

Biogen to buy Pfizer's neurology drug in deal nearing $600 million

FILE PHOTO: A sign marks a Biogen facility in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S. January 26, 2017. REUTERS/Brian Snyder/File Photo

(Reuters) - Biogen Inc (BIIB.O) said on Monday it would buy Pfizer Inc’s (PFE.N) experimental treatment for a symptom associated with schizophrenia in a deal that could near $600 million and mark its foray into the emerging market for neuropsychiatry.

Biogen said it plans to start mid-stage tests on the drug, which is being developed to treat cognitive impairment associated with schizophrenia, in the latter half of the year once the deal closes as expected in the second quarter.

A majority of the 20 million people living with schizophrenia worldwide experience some degree of cognitive impairment, Biogen said.

Pfizer’s drug is designed to bridge signals in the central nervous system that have been disrupted by the disease.

Biogen said it would pay Pfizer $75 million upfront, up to $515 million in development and commercialization milestone payments, as well as royalties.

Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza

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