Pfizer to acquire Global Blood Therapeutics in $5.4bn deal

Through the acquisition of Global Blood Therapeutics, Pfizer aims to enhance its presence in rare haematology and particularly sickle cell disease (SCD).

3D illustration of sickle and normal red blood cells coming out of a cut blood vessel - idea of sickle cell disease

Pfizer has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT), a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of life-changing treatments for underserved patient communities, such as those with sickle cell disease (SCD).

According to Pfizer, the acquisition complements and further enhances its more than 30-year heritage in rare haematology, reinforcing the company’s commitment to 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.”

Under the terms of the transaction, Pfizer will acquire all the outstanding shares of 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.

With the acquisition, Pfizer gets access to GBT’s Oxbryta® (voxelotor) tablets, a first-in-class medicine that directly targets the root cause of the lifelong, devastating inherited blood disorder SCD. Oxbryta is approved in the US, 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.

Other candidates in GBT’s pipeline include GBT021601 (GBT601), an oral, once-daily, next-generation sickle haemoglobin (HbS) polymerisation inhibitor that has the potential to be a best-in-class agent targeting improvement in both haemolysis and frequency of vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC). GBT601 investigational drug is currently in the Phase II portion of a Phase II/III clinical study. Inclacumab is another investigational drug in the pipeline; a fully human monoclonal antibody targeting P-selectin, inclacumab is being evaluated in two Phase III clinical trials as a potential quarterly treatment to reduce the frequency of VOCs and to reduce hospital readmission rates due to VOCs.

“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,” stated Albert Bourla, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Pfizer.

“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,” added Dr Ted Love, President and Chief Executive Officer, 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. 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.”

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.