Pfizer to acquire Oxbryta developer Global Blood Therapeutics for $5.4bn

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Pfizer has agreed to acquire Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT), a publicly-listed American biopharma company, in a deal worth around $5.4 billion with an aim to boost its presence in rare hematology.

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Global Blood Therapeutics is particularly focused on developing drugs for the treatment of sickle cell disease (SCD). The company’s sickle cell disease drug Oxbryta (voxelotor) was approved in November 2019 by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Oxbryta also has approvals in the European Union, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, and the UK. Net sales for Oxbryta in 2021 were around $195 million.

Additionally, Global Blood Therapeutics is developing an oral, daily once, sickle hemoglobin (HbS) polymerization inhibitor called GBT021601 (GBT601), which is currently in the phase 2 part of a phase 2/3 clinical study.

The company’s pipeline also features inclacumab, a fully human monoclonal antibody designed to target P-selectin. Inclacumab is being assessed in a couple of phase 3 clinical trials as a potential three-month treatment for bringing down the frequency of vaso-occlusive crisis (VOCs) and decreasing the rates of hospital readmission caused by VOCs.

Global Blood Therapeutics has secured orphan drug and rare pediatric disease designations for both GBT601 and inclacumab from the FDA.

Pfizer to acquire Oxbryta developer Global Blood Therapeutics for $5.4bn

Pfizer to acquire Oxbryta developer Global Blood Therapeutics for $5.4bn. Photo courtesy of Lauri Silvennoinen/Wikimedia Commons.

Albert Bourla — Pfizer Chairman and CEO said: “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.

“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.”

As per the terms of the deal, Pfizer will purchase all the outstanding shares of Global Blood Therapeutics for $68.5 per share in cash. The consideration includes debt and net of cash acquired.

The deal has been unanimously approved by boards of directors of both the pharma companies.

Ted W. Love — Global Blood Therapeutics President and CEO said: “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.

“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.”

The closing of the deal is subject to regulatory approvals, approval by Global Blood Therapeutics’ stockholders, and other customary conditions.

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