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Rebecca Lumley
9 Aug 2022

Pfizer boosts rare disease pipeline with $5.4B acquisition of Global Blood Therapeutics

The $5.4 billion deal marks Pfizer's fourth acquisition in the last nine months

Pfizer is set to expand its rare disease treatment pipeline with the purchase of Global Blood Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company that develops treatments for blood disorders such as sickle cell disease.  

Pfizer will acquire all Global Blood Therapeutics’ outstanding shares for $68.50 per share in cash, for a total enterprise value of approximately $5.4 billion, including debt and net cash acquired. According to a statement from Global Blood, both companies’ Boards of Directors have approved the transaction.  

Global Blood Therapeutics makes Oxbryta, a prescription drug used to treat haemolytic anaemia (excess breakdown of red blood cells) in patients who have sickle cell disease. It was the first therapy approved in the European Union to target the underlying cause of sickle cell disease for patients 12 and older. Net sales for Oxbryta were approximately $195 million in 2021. 

Sickle cell disease is a rare genetic disease where individuals produce an abnormal form of haemoglobin, which causes the red blood cells to become rigid, sticky and change from being disc-shaped to being crescent-shaped (like a sickle).  

The acquisition comes as Pfizer seeks to reinvest its COVID-19 vaccine earnings through a number of strategic acquisitions. In May, Pfizer paid $11.6 billion to buy migraine drug maker Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding and recently also completed a $6.7 billion deal to acquire Arena Pharmaceuticals

‘Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder, and it disproportionately affects people of African descent. We are excited to welcome GBT colleagues into Pfizer and to work together to transform the lives of patients, as we have long sought to address the needs of this underserved community,’ said Albert Bourla, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer.  

‘The deep market knowledge and scientific and clinical capabilities we have built over three decades in rare hematology will enable us to accelerate innovation for the sickle cell disease community and bring these treatments to patients as quickly as possible.’ 

Global Blood CEO Ted W. Love, M.D. added that the acquisition would ‘broaden and amplify our impact for patients and further propel much-needed innovation and resources for the care of people with sickle cell disease and other rare diseases, including populations in limited-resource countries.’ 

In addition to Oxbryta, Global Blood has multiple innovative drugs in its pipeline. The company is developing GBT021601 (GBT601), an oral sickle hemoglobin (HbS) polymerization inhibitor in the Phase 2 portion of a Phase 2/3 clinical study, as well as inclacumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody targeting P-selectin which is being evaluated in two Phase 3 clinical trials.  

Shares of Global Blood rose 4.5% on Monday after the deal was announced.  

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