AbbVie continues buying spree with $8.7B Cerevel acquisition to bolster neuro
Published: Dec 07, 2023
By Tristan Manalac
In its second multi-billion dollar deal in a week, AbbVie is dropping $8.7 billion to acquire Massachusetts-based Cerevel Therapeutics and its pipeline of potentially best-in-class assets targeting psychiatric and neurological conditions, the companies announced late Wednesday.
Under the agreement, AbbVie will acquire all of Cerevel’s outstanding shares for $45 a pop, which according to Seeking Alpha is a 22% premium over their closing price on Wednesday. The boards of directors of both companies have already approved the deal, which is expected to close in mid-2024, pending approval by Cerevel shareholders as well as customary regulatory and anti-trust clearances.
Cerevel’s stock jumped 14% higher in after-hours trading Wednesday in reaction to the news of the buyout.
The acquisition will bring together AbbVie’s existing neuroscience portfolio—which includes the migraine medicine Qulipta (atogepant)—with Cerevel’s assets, yielding a combined pipeline that “represents a significant growth opportunity well into the next decade,” AbbVie CEO Richard Gonzalez said in a statement.
“AbbVie will leverage its deep commercial capabilities, international infrastructure, and regulatory and clinical expertise to deliver substantial shareholder value with multibillion-dollar sales potential across Cerevel’s portfolio of assets,” Gonzalez said.
Once the transaction is closed, AbbVie will gain ownership of Cerevel’s late-stage asset emraclidine, a next-generation antipsychotic that is currently completing two registration-enabling Phase II studies in schizophrenia. The candidate is a positive allosteric modulator of the muscarinic M4 receptor with best-in-class potential for the treatment of schizophrenia.
Emraclidine is also being assessed in a Phase I study of healthy elderly adults as part of its development as a treatment for dementia-related psychosis in Alzheimer’s disease.
Aside from emraclidine, AbbVie will also gain access to Cerevel’s Phase III first-in-class asset tavapadon, a selective partial agonist of the dopamine D1/D5 receptors. Tavapadon is being developed as a monotherapy and adjunctive treatment for Parkinson’s disease (PD) and could be a “near-term complementary asset to AbbVie’s existing symptomatic therapies for advanced PD,” according to Wednesday’s announcement.
The deal will also give AbbVie darigabat, a Phase II selective positive allosteric modulator of the alpha 2/3/5 subunits of the GABAA receptor being developed for panic disorder and treatment-resistant epilepsy, as well as CVL-354, a Phase I kappa opioid receptor antagonist with best-in-class potential for major depressive disorder.
The Cerevel acquisition comes one week after AbbVie bought ImmunoGen for $10.1 billion, gaining rights to the antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) Elahere (mirvetuximab soravtansine-gynx), which won the FDA’s accelerated approval in November 2022 for the treatment of platinum-resistant ovarian cancer.
AbbVie will also obtain ImmunoGen’s pipeline of investigational ADCs for acute myeloid leukemia and blastic plasmacytoid dendritic cell neoplasm.