Pfizer’s Newest Pick-up: Global Blood Therapeutics and Its Sickle Cell Solutions

Sitting on a massive pile of COVID-19 vaccine cash, pharma powerhouse Pfizer has made it clear that it has enough capital to finance as many strategic acquisitions to diversify its portfolio as it desires. Now, the company is shelling out $5.4 billion in cash to buy out sickle cell disease solutions company Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT). After GBT started earning some takeover attention, Pfizer stepped ahead in line and agreed to pay $68.50 per GBT share.

"We have very deliberately taken a strategy of diversification in our M&A deals," said Aamir Malik, Pfizer's head dealmaker. With a focus on pure growth as opposed to inking cost-cutting mega-deals like it has in recent times, the company is charting a very particular path for itself ahead of the second half of the decade.

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Adding GBT’s sickle cell disease treatment offerings will play a significant role in the early days of this nascent strategy. Oxbryta, the most encouraging of GBT’s products, earned FDA approval in 2019 and has sales projections for the year topping $250 million. Two pipeline assets for treating the same disease, GBT601 and inclacumab, are also part and parcel of the deal. If all are approved as expected, Pfizer believes an extra $3 billion in annual sales could be in store for it.