Pfizer to acquire Seagen for $43bn: ‘Together, we seek to accelerate the next generation of cancer breakthroughs’

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT


Related tags Pfizer Antibody drug conjugate Antibody drug conjugates Us

In acquiring antibody-drug conjugates technology pioneer Seagen, Pfizer eyes up the strong growth trajectories of Seagen's medicines and the potential of its pipeline and technology.

Seagen has developed a leadership position in ADC technologies since it was founded 25 years ago: with four out of 12 FDA-approved ADCs using its technology. And Pfizer notes the ‘strong growth trajectories’ of these medicines and Seagen’s pipeline: estimating the company could contribute more than $10bn in risk-adjusted revenues in 2030 with significant growth beyond that.

Furthermore, the acquisition doubles Pfizer’s early-stage oncology clinical pipeline: helping ensure its leadership in oncology for years to come.

“The addition of Seagen’s world-leading ADC technology will position us at the forefront of innovative cancer care, and strongly complements our existing portfolio across both solid tumors and hematologic malignancies,” said Chris Boshoff, Chief Development Officer Oncology and Rare Disease, Pfizer. “We believe the combination of our teams, and respective areas of strength and global footprints will allow us to realize Seagen’s potential and advance even more potential breakthroughs to patients with cancer.”

ADC leadership

ADCs are a transformative modality that is emerging as a powerful tool across a broad range of cancers designed to preferentially kill cancer cells and limit off-target toxicities.

Seagen’s portfolio includes four approved medicines that are first or best-in-class in their respective indications across solid tumors and hematologic malignancies, including three ADCs: Adcetris ​(brentuximab vedotin), Padcev (enfortumab vedotin), and Tivdak (tisotumab vedotin). The company also commercializes Tukysa (tucatinib).

Meanwhile, clinical development programs are ongoing for each of these medicines for potential new tumor types or expanded indications in earlier lines of therapy, with catalysts expected annually through 2027.

Past this, Seagen’s pipeline includes eleven new molecular entities, all with global commercial rights.

“The proposed acquisition is also expected to enable for combination potential across both the Seagen and Pfizer pipelines and will leverage Pfizer’s protein engineering and medicinal chemistry capabilities to advance Seagen’s ADC technology to unlock potential novel target combinations and next-generation biologics,” adds a statement from the companies.

“Seagen is also advancing innovative technologies capable of potentially generating multiple Investigational New Drug Applications (INDs)​, including next-generation linker/payload technologies for ADCs and other innovative antibody platforms that directly engage the immune system to destroy tumors, such as bi-specific antibodies.”

Pfizer: 'Oncology continues to be the largest growth driver in global medicine'

Seagen had initially been linked to a potential acquisition by Merck: but this feel apart last year over price, according to reports. However, speculation over a potential deal with Pfizer has heated up in recent weeks.

This morning Pfizer confirmed it has agreed to pay $229 in cash per Seagen share with the Boards of Directors of both companies unanimously approving the transaction.

Seagen joins Pfizer’s oncology portfolio, which already has 24 approved innovative cancer medicines that generated $12.1bn in 2022 revenues, including the best-selling therapies for metastatic breast cancer and prostate cancer. Pfizer’s in-line portfolio is focused on four broad, key areas: breast cancer, genitourinary cancer, hematology and precision medicine, complemented by a pipeline of 33 programs in clinical development.

“Pfizer is deploying its financial resources to advance the battle against cancer, a leading cause of death worldwide with a significant impact on public health,” said Dr. Albert Bourla, Pfizer Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. “Together, Pfizer and Seagen seek to accelerate the next generation of cancer breakthroughs and bring new solutions to patients by combining the power of Seagen’s antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) technology with the scale and strength of Pfizer’s capabilities and expertise.

“Oncology continues to be the largest growth driver in global medicine, and this acquisition will enhance Pfizer’s position in this important space and contribute meaningfully to the achievement of Pfizer’s near- and long-term financial goals.”

In fact, Pfizer estimates that Seagen will generate around $2.2bn of revenue this year, representing 12% year-on-year growth, from four medicines, royalties and collaboration and license agreements.

“When combining the expected strong growth trajectories for these medicines with candidates that could emerge from Seagen's pipeline, subject to clinical trial and regulatory success, Pfizer believes Seagen could contribute more than $10bn in risk-adjusted revenues in 2030, with potential significant growth beyond 2030,” notes Pfizer.

Pfizer expects to finance the transaction substantially through $31bn of new, long-term debt, and the balance from a combination of short-term financing and existing cash. It expects to achieve nearly $1bn in cost efficiencies in the third full year after the completion of the transaction.

The companies expect to complete the transaction in late 2023 or early 2024, subject to fulfillment of customary closing conditions, including approval of Seagen’s stockholders and receipt of required regulatory approvals.

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