Pfizer has signed a definitive agreement for the acquisition of all the outstanding shares of biopharmaceutical firm Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT) for a total enterprise value of nearly $5.4bn or $68.50 for each share in cash.

GBT focuses on discovering, developing and delivering life-changing therapies, starting with sickle cell disease (SCD).

The takeover of GBT complements and boosts Pfizer’s expertise in rare haematology. 

It will also boost Pfizer’s commitment to SCD by bringing the capabilities, as well as a portfolio and pipeline of GBT.

GBT’s portfolio comprises Oxbryta (voxelotor) tablets, a therapy that acts on SCD’s root cause. 

It has received approvals in the US, United Arab Emirates, EU, Oman and Great Britain. 

Leveraging its worldwide platform, Pfizer intends to expedite the supply of GBT’s new treatment globally.

The company is also developing an oral, sickle haemoglobin (HbS) polymerization inhibitor, GBT021601 (GBT601), which is currently in the Phase II segment of a Phase II/III clinical trial. 

GBT601 can potentially become a best-in-class agent to offer improvement in hemolysis and vaso-occlusive crisis (VOC) frequency. 

GBT’s pipeline also includes a fully human monoclonal antibody, inclacumab, that acts on P-selectin.

Pfizer plans to fund the deal through cash on hand. 

The boards of directors of Pfizer and GBT have granted unanimous approval for the deal.

Pfizer chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said: “Sickle cell disease is the most common inherited blood disorder, and it disproportionately affects people of African descent. 

“The deep market knowledge and scientific and clinical capabilities we have built over three decades in rare haematology will enable us to accelerate innovation for the sickle cell disease community and bring these treatments to patients as quickly as possible.”

In June, the company acquired a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, ReViral, for up to $525m.