Biogen Gives Sage Therapeutics $1.5 Billion In Deal To Develop Depression And Tremor Treatments

Neurological disease treatment and therapy provider Biogen has joined with biopharmaceutical company Sage Therapeutics to develop and sell Zuranolone and SAGE-324. Joining Biogen’s neuroscience capabilities and Sage’s knowledge in psychiatry will result in needed treatments as about 17 million individuals in the United States struggle with psychiatric disorders. With supportive clinical data, these medications can offer treatment on an “as-needed” basis, providing patients with long lasting results and a better quality of life.

Zuranolone is an oral therapy that will treat depressive disorders. It is currently in a Phase 3 trial and has potential to treat other disorders including bipolar disorder and generalized anxiety disorder.  Zuranolone is a positive allosteric modulator of the gamma-aminobutyric acid receptor (GABAA) and looks to better central nervous system functions that are affected by depression. Zuranolone will compliment Biogen’s therapeutic focuses along with Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.

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SAGE-324 is also a positive allosteric modulator of the GABAA and is currently in a Phase 2 placebo-controlled study. The drug looks to treat Essential Tremor, a neurological condition affecting more than 6 million people in the United States.

Biogen will provide an upfront payment of $875 million and $650 million in equity investment to Sage in order to treat major depressive disorder (MDD), postpartum depression (PPD), and other psychiatric disorders.

Through this deal, Biogen gains access to the medications, joint marketing in the United States, and exclusive rights for marketing outside of the country, excluding rights to Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. Analysts claim that the agreement will boost both companies’ pipelines.

Biogen and Sage Therapeutics look to transform the treatment of depressive and movement disorders.  Biogen’s CEO Michel Vounatsos hopes to, “address the stigma often associated with the chronic use of antidepressants.”  The deal hopes to result in new treatment options and offer longer lasting results for patients suffering from common depressive and movement disorders.