Pfizer to Acquire Global Blood Therapeutics for $5.4 Billion to Enhance Presence in Rare Hematology
August 8, 2022
Pfizer will acquire Global Blood Therapeutics, a company focused on life-changing treatments for underserved patient communities, starting with sickle cell disease.
The acquisition complements Pfizer’s history in rare hematology and reinforces its commitment to sickle cell disease (SCD) by bringing expertise and a leading portfolio and pipeline with the potential to address the full spectrum of critical needs in this underserved community. Pfizer intends to continue to build on the companies’ shared commitment to and engagement with the SCD community.
“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, 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.”
Under the terms of the transaction, Pfizer will acquire all the outstanding shares of Global Blood (GBT) for $68.50 per share in cash, for a total enterprise value of approximately $5.4 billion, including debt and net of cash acquired. The Boards of Directors of both companies have unanimously approved the transaction.
“Today is an exciting milestone that accelerates GBT’s mission to discover, develop, and deliver life-changing treatments that provide hope to underserved patient communities,” said Ted Love, president and CEO, GBT. “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.”
Sickle cell disease is a lifelong, debilitating inherited blood disorder characterized by hemolytic anemia, acute pain crises and progressive end organ damage. Acute pain crisis, or vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC), occurs when sickled red blood cells irritate the lining of blood vessels and cause an inflammatory response leading to vascular occlusion, tissue ischemia and pain. Complications of SCD begin in early childhood and are associated with shortened life expectancy. Early intervention and treatment of SCD have shown potential to modify the course of this disease, reduce symptoms and events, prevent long-term organ damage, and extend life expectancy. Historically, there has been a high unmet need for therapies that address the root cause of SCD and its acute and chronic complications. While rare in developed markets, there are 4.5 million people living with SCD globally and more than 45 million people living with the sickle cell trait. SCD occurs particularly among those whose ancestors are from sub-Saharan Africa, though it also occurs in people of Hispanic, South Asian, Southern European and Middle Eastern ancestry.
Oxbryta (voxelotor) is an oral, once-daily first-in-class medicine for patients with sickle cell disease (SCD). Oxbryta works by increasing hemoglobin’s affinity for oxygen. Since oxygenated sickle hemoglobin does not polymerize, Oxbryta inhibits sickle hemoglobin polymerization and the resultant sickling and destruction of red blood cells leading to hemolysis and hemolytic anemia, which are primary pathologies faced by every single person living with SCD. Through addressing hemolytic anemia and improving oxygen delivery throughout the body, GBT believes that Oxbryta has the potential to modify the course of SCD. Oxbryta was approved in the United States in November 2019 under accelerated approval. GBT will continue to study Oxbryta in the HOPE-KIDS 2 Study, a post-approval confirmatory study using transcranial Doppler (TCD) flow velocity to assess the ability of the therapy to decrease stroke risk in children 2 to 14 years of age.
Oxbryta is also approved in the European Union, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Great Britain. Net sales for Oxbryta were approximately $195 million in 2021. Leveraging its global platform, Pfizer plans to accelerate distribution of GBT’s innovative treatment to parts of the world most impacted by SCD.
In addition, GBT is developing GBT601, an oral, once-daily, next-generation sickle hemoglobin (HbS) polymerization inhibitor in the phase 2 portion of a phase 2/3 clinical study. GBT601 has the potential to be a best-in-class agent targeting improvement in both hemolysis and frequency of vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC). GBT’s pipeline also includes inclacumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody targeting P-selectin which is being evaluated in two phase 3 clinical trials as a potential quarterly treatment to reduce the frequency of VOCs and to reduce hospital readmission rates due to VOCs. Both GBT601 and inclacumab have received Orphan Drug and Rare Pediatric Disease designations from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Pfizer says that if approved, GBT’s pipeline and Oxbryta have the potential for an SCD franchise that could achieve combined worldwide peak sales of more than $3 billion.
Pfizer expects to finance the transaction with existing cash on hand. The proposed transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals and approval by GBT’s stockholders.
Author: Rare Daily Staff
Sign up for updates straight to your inbox.