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Pfizer adds eczema drug with $5.2bn Anacor acquisition

Expands innovative products business with non-steroidal therapy Crisaborole
Pfizer

Pfizer has snapped up Californian biopharma company Anacor in a $5.2bn deal that gives it a late-stage eczema candidate.

Anacor's eczema drug - a topical gel formulation of PDE-4 inhibitor crisaborole - is under review by the FDA and could be approved on or before January 2017. It could become a $2bn-a-year product, according to Pfizer.

Crisaborole is being positioned as an alternative to topical steroids for mild-to-moderate eczema - also known as atopic dermatitis - and if approved would be the first new non-steroidal therapy for the skin condition in more than 15 years.

The drug - which has been given the proposed trade name of Eucrisa - was a highlight of the American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting earlier this year with phase III data presented as a late-breaker.

Pfizer is offering $99.25 per Anacor share in cash, a 55% premium over the company's closing share price last Friday, although shares in the firm were listed above the offer price by the close of trading yesterday.

The bid has been approved by both companies' boards and gives Pfizer an opportunity to add to its innovative products business ahead of a possible break-up of the group next year. The big pharma company was forced to abandon a $160bn merger with Allergan in the wake of a US clampdown on tax inversion deals last month.

Buying Anacor is "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 innovative pharma and vaccines, oncology and consumer healthcare businesses.

There are estimated to be between 18m and 25m people in the US alone with eczema and seems to be on the increase in children, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data.

Most patients on prescription therapies are treated with topical steroids, which are generally used sparingly to avoid side effects and should not be applied to some areas of the body such as the face, while more severe cases are treated with calcineurin inhibitors such as methotrexate.

Crisaborole is a differentiated asset with compelling clinical data that, if approved, has the potential to be an important first-line treatment option for these patients and the physicians who treat them.

Anacor also holds the rights to Kerydin (tavaborole), a topical treatment for toenail fungal infections that is sold by Sandoz' Pharmaderm unit in the US, and booked $13m in profit from the collaboration in the first quarter of 2016.

Article by
Phil Taylor

17th May 2016

From: Sales

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