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Pfizer to purchase skin care specialist Excaliard

Will gain control of the US biotech's drug targets in the treatment of skin fibrosis

Pfizer has agreed a deal to purchase Excaliard, a US-based biotech that specialises in treatments for skin disorders.

The big pharma company will gain full control of Excaliard's drug targets in the treatment of skin fibrosis (skin scarring), including its phase II candidate EXC 001.

EXC 001 is an antisense oligonucleotide is designed to limit the process of fibrosis by inhibiting the expression of the body's connective tissue growth factor – a cause of skin scarring following surgery or injury.

Jose-Carlos Gutierrez-Ramos, senior vice president, Biotherapeutics, Worldwide Research and Development at Pfizer, explained the reasons behind the deal.

“The science behind Excaliard's lead compound aligns well with our R&D focus on new treatments for fibrosis and tissue remodelling,” he said. “We view EXC 001 as being well positioned to potentially become a novel, transformative therapy in a space with limited available treatment options.”

According to Pfizer, phase II data for the treatment demonstrated the drug reduces the severity of scarring – a therapy area for which there are currently no products approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Excaliard was only formed in 2007 and its CEO Gordon Foulkes said the deal with Pfizer was a coup for his company.

“We are all excited about Pfizer becoming the company to move our drug forward. We began Excaliard just four years ago with closing the Series A financing. Since that time, using a virtual organisation and maximum outsourcing, we were able to move from lead generation to the completion of three phase II trials,” he said.

The deal follows several Pfizer acquisitions made throughout 2011. These include the company's purchase of Icagen for $56m in July and the February deal to acquire Denmark-based Ferrosan.

Pfizer's president of worldwide research and development Mikael Dolsten said: “The acquisition of Excaliard is part of our corporate research and development strategy to actively complement our robust internal project pipeline with innovative and differentiated drugs from biotech partners.”

Worldwide Research and Development, Pfizer. Financial terms of the Excaliard deal were not disclosed, although Pfizer said it will be making an upfront payment and further milestone payments.

The deal is expected to close before the end of 2011.

23rd November 2011

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