NEW YORK and SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., Aug. 08, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT) (NASDAQ: GBT) today announced the companies have entered into a definitive agreement under which Pfizer will acquire GBT, a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of life-changing treatments that provide hope to underserved patient communities, starting with sickle cell disease (SCD). The acquisition complements and further enhances Pfizer’s more than 30-year heritage in rare hematology and reinforces 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. Pfizer intends to continue to build on the companies’ shared commitment to and engagement with the SCD 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.
SCD is a lifelong, devastating inherited blood disorder impacting millions of people worldwide, predominantly in populations of African, Middle Eastern and South Asian descent. GBT developed Oxbryta® (voxelotor) tablets, a first-in-class medicine that directly targets the root cause of SCD. Oxbryta was approved in the United States in November 2019 and 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 GBT021601 (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 promising 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 (FDA). 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.
“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 Chief Executive Officer, 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.”
“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, M.D., 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.
Due to the proposed transaction, GBT will not hold its previously scheduled conference call to discuss its second quarter 2022 financial results. The company will file its quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ending June 30, 2022 with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announcing those results on August 8, 2022.
Pfizer’s financial advisors for the transaction are Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC and Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC, with Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz acting as its legal advisor. GBT’s financial advisors for the transaction are J.P. Morgan Securities LLC and Centerview Partners LLC, with Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP and Goodwin Procter LLP acting as legal advisors.
About Sickle Cell Disease
Sickle cell disease (SCD) 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.
About Oxbryta® (voxelotor)
Oxbryta (voxelotor) is an oral, once-daily therapy 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.
In November 2019, the FDA granted accelerated approval for Oxbryta tablets for the treatment of SCD in adults and children 12 years of age and older, and in December 2021, the FDA expanded the approved use of Oxbryta for the treatment of SCD in patients 4 years of age and older in the United States. As a condition of accelerated approval for patients ages 4 and older in the United States, 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.
In recognition of the critical need for new SCD treatments, the FDA granted Oxbryta Breakthrough Therapy, Fast Track, Orphan Drug, and Rare Pediatric Disease designations for the treatment of patients with SCD. Additionally, Oxbryta received the prestigious 2021 Prix Galien USA award for “Best Biotechnology Product” from The Galien Foundation.
Oxbryta has been granted Priority Medicines (PRIME) designation from the European Medicines Agency (EMA), Oxbryta was designated by the European Commission (EC) as an orphan medicinal product for the treatment of patients with SCD, and Oxbryta was granted Promising Innovative Medicine (PIM) designation in the United Kingdom from the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA). In February 2022, the European Commission (EC) granted Marketing Authorization for Oxbryta for the treatment of hemolytic anemia due to SCD in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older as monotherapy or in combination with hydroxycarbamide (hydroxyurea). The MHRA has granted Oxbryta marketing authorization in Great Britain for the treatment of hemolytic anemia due to SCD in adult and pediatric patients 12 years of age and older. In addition, the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP) in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has granted marketing authorization for Oxbryta for the treatment of SCD in adults and children 12 years of age and older.
About Pfizer: Breakthroughs That Change Patients’ Lives
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to bring therapies to people that extend and significantly improve their lives. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacture of health care products, including innovative medicines and vaccines. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as one of the world’s premier innovative biopharmaceutical companies, we collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 170 years, we have worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. We routinely post information that may be important to investors on our website at www.Pfizer.com. In addition, to learn more, please visit us on www.Pfizer.com and follow us on Twitter at @Pfizer and @Pfizer News, LinkedIn, YouTube and like us on Facebook at Facebook.com/Pfizer.
About Global Blood Therapeutics
Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT) is a biopharmaceutical company dedicated to the discovery, development and delivery of life-changing treatments that provide hope to underserved patient communities, starting with sickle cell disease (SCD). Founded in 2011, GBT is delivering on its goal to transform the treatment and care of SCD, a lifelong, devastating inherited blood disorder. The company has introduced Oxbryta® (voxelotor), the first FDA-approved medicine that directly inhibits sickle hemoglobin (HbS) polymerization, the root cause of red blood cell sickling in SCD. GBT is also advancing its pipeline program in SCD with inclacumab, a P-selectin inhibitor in Phase 3 development to address pain crises associated with the disease, and GBT021601 (GBT601), the company’s next generation HbS polymerization inhibitor. In addition, GBT’s drug discovery teams are working on new targets to develop the next generation of treatments for SCD. To learn more, please visit www.gbt.com and follow the company on Twitter @GBT_news.