Pfizer is bolstering its oncology pipeline with the $11.4 billion acquisition of Colorado-based Array BioPharma, Inc. The deal includes the company’s BRAF/MEK inhibitors that are under investigation for a potential first-in-class therapy for patients with BRAF-mutant metastatic colorectal cancer.
Pfizer announced the deal this morning. The pharma giant said the acquisition of Array will strengthen the company’s innovative biopharmaceutical business and is expected to accelerate its growth trajectory, particularly in the long term. Array’s developmental pipeline will strengthen Pfizer’s assets with multiple high-potential targeted investigational cancer therapies and also adds a large portfolio of royalty-generating out-licensed medicines, Pfizer said.
Pfizer’s interest lies in Array’s approved BRAF-mutant metastatic melanoma treatment, Braftovi + Mektovi, which was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration last year. The combination treatment was approved off of Phase III COLUMBUS results that showed median progression-free survival rate of 14.9 months in comparison to the 7.3 months for patients treated with the monotherapy of vemurafenib. Pfizer said the treatment has significant potential for long-term growth through expansions in other areas of unmet needs. Last month, Array announced a four-year analysis of Braftovi + Mektovi that showed the overall survival and progression-free survival data remained consistent with prior clinical data and represented new benchmarks for the BRAF + MEK inhibitor combinations, the company said.
Also last month, Array presented interim data from the Phase III BEACON study in BRAF-mutant metastatic colorectal cancer (mCRC). The data, presented at the American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, the interim analysis revealed Array’s combination treatment showed statistically significant improvement in overall response rate and overall survival compared to the control group, reducing the risk of death by 48%. If all continues to go as hoped, Array said the combination treatment could be the first chemotherapy-free, targeted regimen for patients with BRAF-mutant mCRC. BRAF mutations are estimated to occur in up to 15% of colorectal cancer cases and represent a poor prognosis for these patients. Array intends to submit these data for regulatory review in the United States in the second half of 2019.
In addition to Array’s approved product, the company also has a broad pipeline of targeted cancer medicines in development, as well as a portfolio of out-licensed potentially best-in-class and/or first-in-class medicines, Pfizer added.
Pfizer Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla said the decision to acquire Array BioPharma reinforces Pfizer’s commitment to use its capital resources to “bring breakthroughs that change patients’ lives while creating shareholder value.” Bourla said the acquisition, which has been approved by the board of directors of both companies, will strengthen Pfizer’s biopharmaceutical business and enhance long-term growth. Additionally, Bourla said the acquisition will set the stage to “create a potentially industry-leading franchise for colorectal cancer alongside Pfizer’s existing expertise in breast and prostate cancers.”
Ron Squarer, Array’s CEO, said Pfizer shares his company’s commitment to patients and the development of new treatment options for those who have unmet medical needs. Squarer said he is excited the Array team will have access to “world-class resources and a broader research platform to continue this critical work.” Upon the deal’s close, Array’s employees will join Pfizer and continue to be located in Cambridge, Mass. Morrisville, N.C., and the company’s home offices of Boulder, Colo. Those sites will become part of Pfizer’s Oncology Research & Development network.
Under terms of the deal, Pfizer will acquire Array for $48 per share in cash, for a total enterprise value of approximately $11.4 billion. Since the deal was announced this morning, shares of Array have skyrocketed more than 60% in premarket trading to $47.40. The stock closed at $29.59 on Friday. Pfizer said it will finance the majority of the transaction with debt and existing cash.
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