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June 22, 2015

Pfizer Buys Two GSK Meningitis Vaccines for $130M

  • Pfizer said today it will acquire the quadrivalent meningitis ACWY vaccines Nimenrix and Mencevax from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) for about $130 million, in a deal that further expands the buyer’s vaccine portfolio, especially in meningococcal disease.

    GSK agreed to sell the meningitis vaccines to a Pfizer subsidiary, Pfizer Ireland Pharmaceuticals, to win approvals from the European Commission and other regulators for its up-to-$7.05 billion acquisition of most of Novartis’ vaccines, disclosed last year and completed March 2. Under that deal, GSK bought Novartis’ vaccines business (excluding influenza vaccines), including the meningitis vaccines Menveo and Bexsero, for $5.25 billion cash plus up to $1.8 billion tied to future milestone payments.

    In the latest deal, Pfizer is acquiring two single-dose meningitis vaccines.

    Nimenrix (meningococcal serogroups A, C, W-135, and Y conjugate vaccine) is a meningococcal ACWY-TT (tetanus toxoid) conjugated vaccine designed to protect against Neisseria meningitides. Launched three years ago, it is indicated for all age groups above one year of age.

    Nimenrix is currently registered and approved for sale in 61 countries across the European economic area, Canada, Australia, and emerging markets, with registrations under review in another 18 countries across Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

    Mencevax (meningococcal polysaccharide serogroups A, C, Y, and W-135 vaccine) is a meningococcal ACWY unconjugated polysaccharide vaccine used to control outbreaks of meningococcal infection and for travelers to countries where the disease is endemic or highly epidemic. The vaccine is indicated for use across all age groups from two years of age.

    Mencevax is currently registered and approved in 79 countries across Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and New Zealand.

    “Adding these two innovative and complementary vaccines to our current portfolio will allow us to more completely respond to meningococcal disease outbreaks as well as proactively address a critical public health need—the prevention of meningococcal disease across all ages,” Susan Silbermann, president, Pfizer Vaccines, said in a statement. “Acquiring these quadrivalent vaccines will broaden our ability to address the burden of meningococcal meningitis—an uncommon but serious and sometimes fatal disease.”

    Nimenrix and Mencevax generated a combined £34 million ($53.8 million) in 2014 sales, with GSK disclosing last year that more than half that amount—£19 million ($30.1 million)—came from Nimenrix.

    Pfizer’s purchase of the two vaccines further grows its holdings in meningococcal disease, which the company bolstered in July 2014 when it bought Baxter International’s two vaccines commercially marketed outside the United States and a related production facility for $635 million. The two vaccines were NeisVac-C, designed to protect against meningitis caused by group C meningococcal meningitis, and FSME-IMMUN, designed to protect against tick-borne encephalitis.

    Three months later in October, Pfizer won FDA approval for Trumenba (meningococcal group B vaccine), the first and only FDA-approved vaccine for active immunization to prevent invasive disease caused by Neisseria meningitidis serogroup B in individuals 10 through 25 years of age.

    And in January, Pfizer expanded its vaccine business further by acquiring a controlling interest in Redvax for an undisclosed price. The Redvax deal gave Pfizer a preclinical human cytomegalovirus (CMV) candidate, as well as intellectual property and a technology platform related to a second, undisclosed program.

    Pfizer said it does not expect the transaction to have any “significant” impact on its 2015 financial performance.

    The Pfizer-GSK deal is expected to close in the second half of 2015, Pfizer said, subject to final European Commission approval, other regulatory approvals, and other customary closing conditions.

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