AbbVie buys Syndesi Therapeutics for up to $1bn

1 Mar 2022

Image: © Valeriya Zankovych/

The deal will expand AbbVie’s neuroscience portfolio with Syndesi’s lead drug candidate for treating symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease.

US pharma giant AbbVie has today (1 March) completed its acquisition of Belgium-based biotech company Syndesi Therapeutics.

AbbVie will pay Syndesi shareholders an upfront payment of $130m as part of the deal, but could make additional payments of up to $870m if certain predetermined milestones are hit.

Syndesi has been backed by Irish VC company Fountain Healthcare Partners, which co-led a Series A funding round in 2018 with Novo Holdings.

AbbVie is known for producing a wide range of products including Humira, which is used to treat ailments such as rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease.

The acquisition aims to expand the biopharma player’s neuroscience portfolio, giving it access to Syndesi’s drug candidates. This would include the lead molecule SDI-118, which has potential to be used as a treatment for cognitive impairment and other symptoms associated with disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease.

SDI-118 is currently being evaluated to target nerve terminals to enhance synaptic efficiency. Synaptic dysfunction is believed to underlie the cognitive impairment seen in multiple neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders.

AbbVie’s senior vice-president of R&D and chief scientific officer, Tom Hudson, said there is a “major unmet need” for new therapies that can improve cognitive function for patients with neurologic diseases.

“With AbbVie’s acquisition of Syndesi, we aim to advance the research of a novel, first-in-class asset for the potential treatment of cognitive impairment associated with neuropsychiatric and neurodegenerative disorders,” he said.

Syndesi CEO Jonathan Savidge said AbbVie’s neuroscience team shares Syndesi’s view on the potential of SDI-118.

“I am delighted with the closing of this deal. It has been a pleasure to partner with our investors to investigate the potential of SDI-118 in early clinical studies. Now, as part of AbbVie, the programme is well positioned to move into later stages of clinical development.”

The acquisition follows AbbVie’s merger with Ireland-headquartered Allergan in 2020, in one of world’s largest mergers in recent years, valued at approximately $63bn.

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Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic