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    Monday, October 03, 2022

    Cash-rich Pfizer snaps up maker of sickle cell disease treatment for $5.4 billion

    The Pfizer logo is displayed on the exterior of a former Pfizer factory, on May 4, 2014, in the Brooklyn borough of New York. Pfizer is buying sickle cell drug maker Global Blood Therapeutics in an approximately $5.4 billion deal as it looks to accelerate growth after its revenue soared during the pandemic. Both companies' boards have approved the deal, which still needs regulatory approval and approval from GBT shareholders. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

    Pfizer, the pharmaceutical giant that became a cash-generating machine thanks to its coronavirus vaccine, is bringing Global Blood Therapeutics into the fold under a $5.4 billion all-cash deal announced Monday.

    The acquisition of the company behind one of the few FDA-approved treatments for sickle cell disease, is the latest blockbuster deal for Pfizer, which has been looking for veins of long-term growth following a cash bonanza driven by its COVID-19 vaccine. In May it spent $11.6 billion to swallow up Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding, which treats acute migraine headaches. More recently it shelled out $6.7 billion for Arena Pharmaceuticals, which focuses on immuno-inflammatory diseases such as Crohn's disease.

    Pfizer chief executive Albert Bourla said the deal is meant to put resources behind new treatments for an underserved community of 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.

    Sickle cell disease is an inherited blood disorder in which red blood cells can become hard, sticky and "sickle-shaped," leading to a range of health problems including infection and stroke. It affects about 100,000 Americans who are disproportionately of African, Middle-Eastern and South Asian descent, according to CDC data.

    Ted Love, a medical doctor who leads Global Blood Therapeutics as chief executive, said the Pfizer buyout will broaden and amplify his company's impact while allowing it to propel much-needed innovation in countries where medical resources are scarce.

    Pfizer will pay $68.50 per share under the terms of the all-cash deal, which represents a 7.3% premium on Global Blood Therapeutics' Friday closing price, and a 42.7% premium compared to Thursday's closing, before the Wall Street Journal reported that the two companies were in advanced merger discussions.

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