Biogen Inc. (NAS:BIIB) and Sage Therapeutics Inc. (NAS:SAGE) said Friday they have agreed to jointly develop therapies to treat depression and movement disorders in a deal in which Biogen will give Sage $1.525 billion in cash. The money will be split between an upfront payment of $875 million and a $650 million equity investment, as well as potential milestone payments of up to $1.6 billion, profit sharing and royalties. The companies will develop and sell zuranolone for major depressive disorder, or MDD, postpartum depression, or PPD, and other psychiatric disorders. They will also develop SAGE-324 for essential tremor and other neurological disorders. "Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17 million people in the U.S. alone, and is a common co-morbidity of multiple neurological disorders in Biogen's core therapeutic areas," Biogen's CEO Michel Vounatsos said in a statement. "There is a tremendous unmet medical need in depression, and we are optimistic about the potential for zuranolone to help transform the treatment of depression and address the stigma often associated with chronic use of antidepressants." Zuranolone is already in a Phase 3 trial, while SAGE-324 is in a Phase 2 trial. Sage shares soared 10% premarket on resuming trade following a halt for the news. Biogen shares were up 0.5%, but are down 18% in the year to date, while the SPDR S&P Biotech ETF has gained 33% and the S&P 500 (S&P:SPX) has gained 12%.
Nov. 27, 2020, 8:19 a.m. EST