Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. is entering the cannabis space via the $6.7 billion acquisition of Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. The two publicly-traded companies confirmed Monday that they have signed a definitive agreement under which Pfizer will acquire all outstanding shares of Arena for $100 per share in an all-cash transaction.
Pfizer expects to finance the transaction with existing cash on hand upon obtaining all necessary approvals.
Arena Pharmaceuticals, based in San Diego, Cal., is a biotech company with one segment of its drug pipeline dedicated to cannabinoid-type therapeutics. The core of its cannabis biotech operations is the research and development of its investigational drug candidate called Olorinab. This is an oral full agonist of the cannabinoid receptor 2 that is being researched for the treatment of various symptoms, mainly concentrated on visceral pain connected with gastrointestinal illnesses.
Other parts of Arena’s drug pipeline are concentrated on non-cannabinoid drugs with the main focus on developing innovative potential therapies for the treatment of several immuno-inflammatory diseases. Arena’s portfolio includes diverse and promising development-stage therapeutic candidates in gastroenterology, dermatology and cardiology.
“The proposed acquisition of Arena complements our capabilities and expertise in Inflammation and Immunology, a Pfizer innovation engine developing potential therapies for patients with debilitating immuno-inflammatory diseases with a need for more effective treatment options,” stated Mike Gladstone, global president & general manager, Pfizer Inflammation and Immunology. “Utilizing Pfizer’s leading research and global development capabilities, we plan to accelerate the clinical development of etrasimod for patients with immuno-inflammatory diseases.” Etrasimod is Arena’s drug candidate for the treatment of immune-mediated and inflammatory diseases.
Amit D. Munshi, president and CEO of Arena said they are thrilled to be acquired by Pfizer, which recognized “Arena’s potentially best in class S1P molecule and our contribution to addressing unmet needs in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases. Pfizer’s capabilities will accelerate our mission to deliver our important medicines to patients. We believe this transaction represents the best next step for both patients and shareholders.”
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