Pfizer looks beyond COVID sales with $43b deal for cancer drugmaker Seagen

WASHNGTON: Pfizer Inc on Monday struck a roughly $43 billion deal for Seagen Inc to bulk up its cancer treatments portfolio, as the drugmaker braces for a steep fall in COVID-19 product sales and loss of exclusivity for some top sellers.

The deal, Pfizer’s biggest in a string of acquisitions after a once-in-a-lifetime cash windfall from its COVID-19 vaccine and pill, will add four approved cancer therapies with combined sales of nearly $2 billion in 2022.

Pfizer will pay $229 in cash per Seagen share, a 32.7% premium to Friday’s closing price. The offer is also a nearly 42% premium to the stock’s close on Feb. 24, a day before the Wall Street Journal first reported on a possible deal.

Seagen’s shares rose to $207 before the bell on Monday.

Pfizer has hit the deals route in its quest to mitigate the impact from an anticipated $17 billion drop in revenue by 2030 due to patent expirations for top drugs and decline in demand for its COVID products.

“While Pfizer still has more firepower to do deals, we think integrating such a large company could make (Pfizer) take a pause on M&A front,” Wells Fargo analyst Mohit Bansal said in a research note.

The drugmaker expects more than $10 billion in “risk-adjusted” sales from Seagen in 2030.

Washington-based Seagen is a pioneer of antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs), which work like “guided missiles” designed for a targeted destructive effect and spare healthy cells.

Pfizer’s portfolio of oncology therapies includes 24 approved drugs, including breast cancer treatment Ibrance.

The companies expect to complete the deal in late 2023 or early 2024.

The deal is unlikely to face major antitrust challenges as the companies do not have major overlapping products, Bansal said, but could still face some scrutiny due to its size.

Pfizer rival Merck & Co Inc and Seagen were in advanced deal talks last year but that reportedly collapsed over fears of tough antitrust scrutiny.

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