Pfizer to buy a company with a liquid formulation of historic ADHD drug methylphenidate

Pfizer is to buy NextWave, a privately owned pharma company specialising in central nervous system (CNS) disorders, for up to $700 million (£440 million).

NextWave is best known for Quillivant XR (methylphenidate hydrochloride) oral suspension, a liquid medication for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder approved in the US earlier this month. Methylphenidate was the active molecule in Ritalin tablets, one of the first medicines for treating ADHD. Quillivant XR oral suspension is an extended release formulation intended to be taken once per day.

Pfizer entered into an ‘option and merger’ agreement with NextWave earlier this year, and made an option payment of $20 million. Now, Pfizer is exercising its option to buy NextWave. Pfizer will pay $255 million up front, and NextWave shareholders will become eligible for to $425 million of payments if and when certain commercial milestones are passed.