Pfizer snaps up migraine drugmaker Biohaven for $11.6bn

11 May 2022

Image: © nmann77/

Acquiring Biohaven will allow Pfizer to commercialise the Nurtec medication for migraine attacks.

Pfizer is set to acquire pharmaceutical company Biohaven for $11.6bn to offer a new class of medicines that treat and prevent migraines.

Based in New Haven, Connecticut, Biohaven is a commercial-stage biopharma company that was founded in 2013 to develop medicines for patients with debilitating neurological conditions such as migraine.

It has developed an FDA-approved medication Rimegepant, sold in the US as Nurtec ODT and in the EU as Vydura, which targets the root cause of migraine by reversibly blocking calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptors, preventing acute migraine attacks.

To date, Biohaven says Nurtec has been prescribed more than 2m times in the US and brought in $650m in net revenue for the company.

Pfizer, which has seen profits jump on the back of its Covid-19 vaccine, now wants to tap into this high-demand market for ingestible migraine medicines and expand its portfolio of products.

“Nurtec ODT, which is already the number-one prescribed migraine medicine in its class in the United States, coupled with Biohaven’s CGRP pipeline, offers hope for patients suffering from migraine worldwide,” said Nick Lagunowich, global president of Pfizer Internal Medicine.

“Pfizer is uniquely positioned to help the portfolio reach its full potential given our leading scale and capabilities, including comprehensive field force engagement with primary care physicians, specialists and health systems delivering the right information at the right time.”

The pharma giant already has a 2.6pc stake in Biohaven, which it took late last year with a $350m investment. Now, it is buying up the rest of the shares at a 78.6pc premium on Monday’s closing price, according to Reuters.

The deal will also see Biohaven’s non-migraine pipeline spin off into a new publicly traded company.

“Pfizer’s capabilities will accelerate our mission to deliver our migraine medicines to even more patients,” said Biohaven CEO Vlad Coric, who will lead the new company.

“The new R&D company is well positioned to bring value to patients and shareholders by focusing on our innovative pipeline for neurological and other disorders. We believe this transaction represents significant future value creation for patients and our collective shareholders.”

The purchase of Biohaven is Pfizer’s biggest acquisition since 2016, when it bought prostate cancer expert Medivation for nearly $14bn.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic