Biogen and Sage Therapeutics Enter into $3 Billion Collaboration

The companies have entered into a global collaboration and license agreement to develop zuranolone (SAGE-217) for major depressive disorder, postpartum depression (PPD), and SAGE-324 for essential tremor and other neurological disorders.

Biogen and Sage Therapeutics, a US-based biopharmaceutical company, announced on Nov. 27, 2020 that they have entered into a $3 billion global collaboration and license agreement to develop zuranolone (SAGE-217) for major depressive disorder, postpartum depression (PPD), and SAGE-324 for essential tremor and other neurological disorders.

Under the terms of the agreement, Sage will receive $1.525 billion in cash, including an upfront payment of $875 million and a $650 million equity investment in Sage, a Biogen press release said. Both companies will share responsibility for the development and profits and losses for commercialization in the US, while Biogen will handle development and commercialization outside of the US, excluding Japan, Taiwan, and South Korea. If the programs meet certain milestones, Sage will be eligible to receive up to $1.6 billion in milestone payments.

“We are excited about the potential to bring together Biogen’s leading capabilities in neuroscience with Sage’s deep expertise in psychiatry,” said Michel Vounatsos, Biogen’s CEO, in the press release. “Major depressive disorder affects approximately 17 million people in the US alone and is a common co-morbidity of multiple neurological disorders in Biogen’s core therapeutic areas. 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.”

“With the recent and pending data outputs for zuranolone and SAGE-324, the timing is right for a collaboration between two like-minded companies committed to patients and driven by a passion for neuroscience and brain health,” added Mike Cloonan, chief operating officer at Sage Therapeutics, in the press release. “Through this collaboration, Sage and Biogen have the potential to build something greater together than either could have done alone. We will leverage each other’s existing expertise while continuing to build new capabilities in our efforts to create paradigm shifts in the treatment of depression, PPD, and essential tremor – disorders that have gone too long with few treatment innovations. Additionally, the cash from the collaboration is expected to enable Sage to accelerate and expand value potential for its pipeline and will enhance Sage’s strategic, financial, and operational flexibility as well as strengthening our multi-franchise approach.”

Source: Biogen