Pfizer in Talks to Take Cancer Biotech Seagen

01.03.2023 - Pfizer is in the early stage of talks to acquire Seagen (formerly Seattle Genetics), a US biotech focused on developing treatments for cancer, according to a report in the Wall Street Journal that cited people familiar with the matter. The purchase price could potentially be more than $30 billion.

And Pfizer may succeed where rival US pharma Merck & Co. failed. Merck was in advanced talks last year to acquire Seagen for upward of $40 billion, but the two sides failed to agree with reports also citing concerns about the potential for a Federal Trust Commission (FTC) investigation.

“A Pfizer/Seagen combination will invite less scrutiny from the FTC due to less overlap of their products when compared to a Merck/Seagen deal," Zhiqiang Shu, an analyst at Berenberg Capital Market told Reuters.

But a potential conflict for Pfizer’s takeover of Seagen is the latter’s partnership with Merck on Padcev, which is used in combination with Keytruda for the treatment of urothelial cancer.

An acquisition of Seagen would boost Pfizer’s portfolio at a time when it is facing losing patent protection on several of its top drugs from 2026, potentially losing $17 billion in annual sales by 2030.

However, in a presentation at its Near-term Launches and High-Value Pipeline Day held on Dec. 12, 2022, the drugmaker said it has 18 oncology products in phase one trials and will launch two new cancer treatments this year. These are Elranatamab for multiple myeloma and Talzenna in combination with Xtandi for prostate cancer.

Pfizer added that it aims to add $20 billion in sales this year, partly driven by demand for its Talzenna-Xtandi combination.

Seagen generated revenue of nearly $2 billion in 2022. It has four approved drugs: Tivdak for cervical cancer, Tukysa for breast cancer, Adcetris for lymphoma and Padcev.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist