Pfizer in talks to buy sickle-cell drug maker for about $5 billion

Pfizer in talks to buy sickle-cell drug maker for about $5 billion

Pfizer Inc. is in advanced talks to buy Global Blood Therapeutics Inc., maker of a recently approved drug for sickle-cell disease, for about $5 billion, a move by the drug giant to bolster its portfolio and pipeline.

Pfizer hopes to seal a deal for GBT in the coming days, according to people familiar with the matter. Some people said that the situation is still fluid and other suitors are still in the mix. The second quarter of GBT was announced Monday.

Potential buyers were not naming themselves, according to Bloomberg earlier this week. The shares rose on the news, adding to earlier gains since the spring. They closed Thursday at $47.99, giving GBT a market value of just over $3 billion.

GBT, of South San Francisco, was founded in 2011. A drug already on sale for the treatment of sickle-cell disease and two in development that have positive results in preliminary studies would be purchased by buying the company to add to Pfizer's presence in rare diseases.

The commercial treatment, Oxbryta, approved in December, had just over $55 million in first-quarter sales.

Sickle-cell disease is an inherited blood disorder that affects around 100,000 people in the U.S., including 1 in 13 who are Black. Pfizer is interested in sickle cell, but a drug that it developed in the past didn't work in 2019. It has another one in early-stage development.

There had been few drugs treating the disease, but it has attracted the interest of researchers because of advances in understanding its molecular roots. Pfizer wants to find long-running sales growth that doesn't depend on the pandemic products, so the company is looking to add products to its lineup and pipeline.

Pfizer's Covid 19 vaccine and pill has a huge amount of revenue. The company expects to make $54 billion in sales from the two products this year alone. In the coming years, analysts expect demand to drop, putting pressure on the company's non-pandemic portfolio.

The New York-based drugmaker hopes to add $25 billion in revenue from business-development moves like M&A by the year 2030.

Pfizer has been inking deals to bolster its portfolio and pipeline despite the fact that it has been flooded with the cash it has generated from the pandemic products. In May, it agreed to buy the rest of the migraine drugmaker Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding Co. for $11.6 billion.