Pfizer, Biohaven form $1.24B migraine pact

Nov. 9, 2021

Pfizer is making moves to get in on the fast-growing market for new migraine drugs.

This week, the company announced that it is acquiring the overseas licensing rights for two migraine drugs made by Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding. While Connecticut-based Biohaven will hang onto the rights to the drugs — Nurtec ODT (rimegepant) and zavegepant — inside the U.S., Pfizer will use its global prowess to expand the drugs’ reach in other parts of the world.

Nurtec ODT was first OK’d by the FDA in February to treat acute migraines. The approval was expanded in May to the prevention of the debilitating episodic headaches, making it the first migraine drug to ever score an FDA nod as both a preventative medicine and a treatment. The drug has since experienced soaring sales, raking in $136 million in the quarter that ended Sept. 30 — a 46% increase over the previous three months.

Both Nurtec ODT and zavegepant are CGRP inhibitors that work by blocking a cellular pathway related to migraines, but zavegepant was developed in a soft gel formulation for intranasal delivery. The drug is currently in phase 3 trials.

Under the deal, Pfizer will shell out $500 million for the overseas rights to both drugs. Biohaven could also score up to $740 million in milestone payments related to overseas sales for the drugs.