Pfizer snags new ADHD drug in $680M NextWave deal

Pfizer ($PFE) has snapped up NextWave, the maker of a recently approved liquid ADHD drug, in a deal worth up to $680 million. The company will fork over $255 million up front, and up to $425 million in milestone payments, provided the new drug meets sales goals.

Curiously enough, the NextWave business will fold into Pfizer's established products unit. The active ingredient in Quillivant XR is the same as Ritalin's, but because of its new formulation--as an extended release liquid-- it had to win separate FDA approval. It's the first once-daily liquid ADHD remedy in the U.S., and is expected to launch in January.

Pfizer is betting that its marketing clout can pump up Quillivant XR"s sales. "By combining the advantages of Quillivant XR with Pfizer's commercialization expertise we will be able to provide ADHD patients and their caregivers a new treatment option," Albert Bourla, the division's president, said in a statement.

Pfizer moves its branded drugs to the established products unit after their patents expire, generally at the beginning of the next fiscal year, but not always. In that unit, Quillivant would join fellow CNS products Effexor, an antidepressant; and Aricept, an Alzheimer's drug, among others. Bourla said that the NextWave deal "demonstrates our focused expansion of the Established Products U.S. brands business."

- read the statement from Pfizer