Pfizer Completes $5.4 Billion Acquisition of Sickle Cell Disease Drug Innovator


Pfizer Inc. has acquired Global Blood Therapeutics, Inc. (GBT), a biopharmaceutical company whose leading product inhibits harmful medical conditions that lead to the relatively rare but serious sickle cell disease. Pfizer says this demonstrates its commitment to fighting sickle cell, “building on a 30-year legacy in the rare hematology space.”

GBT is a South San Francisco, Calif., biopharmaceutical company that concentrates on the development of “life-changing treatments for people living with grievous blood-based disorders.” GBT says its medicine, Oxbryta®, is the first to address the underlying causes of sickle cell disease to earn FDA approval.

GBT’s net sales of Oxbryta for 2021 were $194.7 million, an increase of 57% year over year, according to the company. GBT and Pfizer announced their merger on Aug. 8, saying each GBT stockholder would get $68.50 in cash for each share of GBT common stock. Valued at roughly $5.4 billion, the deal closed on Oct. 5.

A GBT stockholder had sued the company and its board of directors in federal court in San Francisco to prevent a vote on the acquisition. The shareholder claimed the company violated federal law by filing false and misleading information to the SEC and wanted to delay the vote until the information was corrected. He later withdrew the case.

Pfizer generated more than $81 billion in total revenues last year, making it the second largest U.S. drug company behind AbbVie. Pfizer’s revenue is roughly neck-and-neck with Bristol-Myers Squibb, Johnson & Johnson. Amgen is the eighth biggest drug company in the U.S., but on the global biopharma stage Amgen is number one, just ahead of Gilead Sciences. While a major player in the health product space, Pfizer doesn’t currently hold a place among the top global biopharma companies. The biopharma industry is projected to hit $400 billion this year and nearly $1 trillion in 2030, according to statistics gathered by Statista.

Edited by Tom Hagy for MoginRubin LLP.

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