Pfizer to Acquire Anacor Pharmaceuticals
Pfizer has agreed to pay around $5.2 billion for Anacor Pharmaceuticals in a deal that has been approved by both companies’ boards. Headquartered in Palo Alto, California, USA, Anacor focuses on developing medicines from boron chemistry. Its flagship therapy is a non-steroidal topical ointment called crisaborole, which is currently under review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for treating mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis, or eczema.
The treatment is expected to be given the go ahead in January 2017 following significant results from two Phase 3 studies. Pfizer said crisaborole could generate peak sales of more than $2 billion a year.
“The acquisition of Anacor represents an attractive opportunity to address a significant unmet medical need for a large patient population with mild-to-moderate atopic dermatitis, which currently has few safe topical treatments available,” said Albert Bourla, president of Pfizer’s Global Innovative Pharma business.
Atopic dermatitis is a common, relapsing, chronic, inflammatory skin disorder that affects around 18-25 million people in the US. Pfizer said the condition is considerably under-diagnosed because of the limitations of current treatments and that no new drugs have been approved in the past 15 years.
Bourla added that Anacor will further support Pfizer’s strategic focus on inflammation and immunology where the US drugs giant’s current portfolio includes Enbrel and Xeljanz, both targeting auto-immune diseases.
Anacor also holds the rights to Kerydin, a topical treatment for toenail fungus that is sold by Sandoz in the US. Pfizer said it plans to finance the acquisition with existing cash and expects the deal to boost profits from 2018 onward.
The transaction is expected to complete in the third quarter of 2016, subject to customary closing conditions including US antitrust clearance. Last month, Pfizer scrapped its plans to merge with Ireland’s Allergan. Since then, the company is said to have accelerated its timetable for a decision on whether to split into two – one unit focused on new drugs, the other dealing in older treatments that are facing patent expiry.
The drugmaker hopes to make its decision by the end of this year, which could pave the way for a break-up in early 2017. Some analysts have predicted that Pfizer will acquire several businesses this year in order to boost the innovative side of its operations ahead of any split.