Markets punish Biohaven's independent streak
Biohaven’s successful Nurtec ODT launch made the company a prime takeover candidate, at least in investors’ minds, so today’s licensing deal with Pfizer comes as a big disappointment to those hoping for something much bigger. Not that the ex-US marketing deal is small. Pfizer is handing over $500m up front, $350m of which comes as an equity purchase struck at a 25% premium to Biohaven’s current share price, with a further $740m in milestones available. Double-digit royalties are payable, and Pfizer also gets ex-US rights to zavegapant, a follow-on small-molecule CGRP antagonist in phase 3. It is hard to compare these terms against similar transactions simply because few exist; promising assets typically get snapped up before they reach the market, and Nurtec ODT has firmly established its potential by consistently beating forecasts. Ex-US sales are unlikely to match the lucrative US market, where consensus for 2026 is heading above $2bn, but the terms suggest that Pfizer has fairly big hopes. Even after today’s 16% share price drop Biohaven is capitalised at $9.6bn, a prospect that even the cash-rich big pharma company obviously felt was too much.
|Bringing on muscle: licensing deals struck over marketed drugs|
|Product (year of deal)||Licensee/licensor||Up front||Biodollar value||Details|
|Lynparza (2017)||Merck & Co/Astrazeneca||$1.6bn||$8.5bn||Global development and commercialisation (Lynparza was approved in major markets at the time)|
|Tislelizumab (2021)||Novartis/Beigene||$650m||$2.2bn||US, Europe & Japan deal (tislelizumab was approved in China at the time)|
|Macrilen (2018)||Strongbridge/Novo Nordisk||$145m||$182m||US & Canada deal (Macrilen was approved in the US at the time)|
|Note: excludes deals over off-patent or ex-growth drugs. Source: Evaluate Pharma.|