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Pfizer’s $5.4 billion acquisition of Global Blood Therapeutics is expected to strengthen its sickle cell disease portfolio.
Pfizer and Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT), a biopharmaceutical company specializing in sickle cell disease (SCD) treatment, announced on Aug. 8, 2022 a definitive agreement under which Pfizer will purchase all outstanding shares of GBT at $68.50 (totaling approximately $5.4 billion). This purchase will grant Pfizer the rights to GBT’s existing Oxbryta (voxelotor) treatment, as well as other treatments in development.
Voxelotor is an oral, once-daily therapy for patients with SCD that increases hemoglobin’s affinity for oxygen. Since oxygenated sickle hemoglobin does not polymerize, voxelator inhibits sickle hemoglobin polymerization and the resultant sickling and destruction of red blood cells that leads to hemolysis and hemolytic anemia. Generating net sales of approximately $195 million in 2021, the treatment is currently approved in the United States, European Union, United Aram Emirates, Oman, and Great Britain.
GBT’s pipeline includes two key treatments that received orphan drug and rare pediatric disease designations from FDA. According to a company press release, if approved, GBT’s SCD treatments could achieve combined worldwide peak sales of more than $3 billion.
“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, in the release. “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.”
“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 W. Love, president and CEO, GBT, in the release. “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.”