AbbVie has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Cerevel Therapeutics in an $8.7bn cash deal.

AbbVie will gain access to Cerevel’s neuroscience pipeline of multiple clinical-stage and preclinical candidates for conditions including schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease (PD) and mood disorders. 

The deal is part of AbbVie’s strategy of bolstering its neuroscience portfolio, adding an array of assets to enhance standards of care in psychiatric and neurological disorders.

Emraclidine is a late-stage antipsychotic asset of Cerevel to treat schizophrenia. 

In a Phase Ib trial, emraclidine demonstrated favourable safety and efficacy. It is currently in two Phase II trials that are nearing completion.

Another Phase I clinical trial in elderly healthy subjects is analysing the asset’s potential to treat Alzheimer’s disease-associated psychosis. 

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Cerevel assets also include Tavapadon for managing PD, CVL-354 for major depressive disorder and Darigabat for panic disorder and treatment-resistant epilepsy.  

Tavapadon is being analysed in Phase III trials as a single agent and adjunctive treatment while CVL-354 and Darigabat are in Phase I and Phase II trials respectively.

AbbVie chairman and CEO Richard Gonzalez stated: “Our existing neuroscience portfolio and our combined pipeline with Cerevel represents a significant growth opportunity well into the next decade. 

“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.”

The transaction has received approvals from the boards of directors of AbbVie and Cerevel Therapeutics and will conclude in the middle of 2024.

The latest development comes after AbbVie collaborated with BigHat Biosciences to detect and develop antibody therapies in oncology and neuroscience indications.