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9 August 2022AmericasStaff Writer

Pfizer bolsters haematology expertise with $5.4bn deal

Pharma giant to acquire biopharma firm specialising in sickle cell treatment | Key treatment will be distributed to countries most impacted by the disease.

Pfizer is set to acquire Global Blood Therapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company focused on sickle cell disease.

The deal, announced yesterday, August 8, will see Pfizer gain sickle cell disease treatment Oxbryta (voxelotor), alongside two experimental medicines for the blood condition.

Oxbryta was approved in the US in November 2019 and is also approved in the EU, United Arab Emirates, Oman and UK. Net sales for Oxbryta were approximately $195 million in 2021.

Pfizer’s plan to pay $5.4 billion for the company has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies.

Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, said in a press release: “The deep market knowledge and scientific and clinical capabilities we have built over three decades in rare haematology will enable us to accelerate innovation for the sickle cell disease community and bring these treatments to patients as quickly as possible.”

According to the release, the acquisition complements and further enhances Pfizer’s more than 30-year heritage in rare haematology and reinforces the company’s commitment to sickle cell disease.

Distribution plans

Pfizer said it plans to “accelerate distribution" of Oxbryta to parts of the world most impacted by the disease, and expects potential combined worldwide peak sales of more than $3 billion.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder characterised by haemolytic anaemia, acute pain crises and progressive end organ damage. There are 4.5 million people living with the disease globally and more than 45 million people living with the sickle cell trait, predominantly in populations of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian descent.

Ted Love, president and CEO of Global Blood Therapeutics, added: “Pfizer will 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.

“We look forward to working together with Pfizer to serve our communities and advance our shared goal of improving health equity and expanding access to life-changing treatments to create a healthier future for all.”

Global Blood Therapeutics is not the only large acquisition Pfizer has announced this year. In May, Pfizer agreed to buy Biohaven Pharmaceutical, the maker of a migraine therapy, for approximately $11.6 billion.

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