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August 8, 2022

Pfizer Inc. to acquire Global Blood Therapeutics for $5.4B


Drug giant Pfizer Inc. announced Monday that it has reached an agreement to pay $5.4 billion to buy biopharmaceutical company Global Blood Therapeutics Inc., which is fighting sickle cell disease.

Under the terms of the deal, Pfizer, which has a facility in Groton, will acquire all outstanding shares of the San Francisco-headquartered company for $68.50 per share in cash, for a total value of about $5.4 billion, according to an announcement.

The boards of directors at both companies have already unanimously approved the transaction, which is subject to regulatory and stockholder approvals.

Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder which impacts millions worldwide, particularly individuals of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian descent.

While healthy red blood cells are round, in patients with the disease the cells resemble a C-shaped farm tool called a sickle, negatively impacting the cells’ ability to transport oxygen in the body, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO of Pfizer, said the acquisition will mean both companies can work together to help patients.

“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,” Bourla said.

Dr. Ted W. Love, president and CEO at Global Blood Therapeutics, said the deal will mean reaching more patients around the world.

“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,” Love said, in an announcement.

Global Blood Therapeutics, which was founded in 2011, is the company behind Oxbryta (voxelotor), an FDA-approved oral medicine that inhibits sickle hemoglobin polymerization, the root cause of red blood cell sickling in sickle cell disease. Oxbryta was approved in the United States in 2019 and is also approved in the European Union, United Arab Emirates, Oman and Great Britain. The company reports that net sales for Oxbryta were around $195 million in 2021.

Pfizer intends to accelerate distribution of the treatment to more parts of the world, according to an announcement.

Global Blood Therapeutics also is developing GBT021601 (GBT601), an oral, once-daily, sickle hemoglobin polymerization inhibitor.

The company’s pipeline also includes inclacumab, which is being evaluated in two Phase 3 clinical trials as a potential quarterly treatment to reduce the frequency of vaso-occlusive crises. These occur when sickled cells block blood flow, causing tissues to become oxygen-deprived.

The FDA has granted orphan drug and rare pediatric disease designations to both GBT601 and inclacumab.

Pfizer anticipates that Oxbryta and Global Blood Therapeutics’ pipeline could mean a sickle cell disease franchise with worldwide peak sales in excess of $3 billion.

Contact Michelle Tuccitto Sullo at 

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