Pfizer acquired Bamboo Therapeutics, which focuses on developing gene therapies for the potential treatment of patients with certain rare diseases related to neuromuscular conditions and those affecting the central nervous system. This acquisition significantly expands Pfizer’s expertise in gene therapy by providing Pfizer with clinical and several preclinical assets that complement the company’s rare disease portfolio, an advanced recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vector design and production technology, and a fully functional Phase I/II gene therapy manufacturing facility that Bamboo acquired from the University of North Carolina earlier this year, according to  Mikael Dolsten, president, Pfizer worldwide research & development.

“The field of gene therapy research has made tremendous strides in recent years, and we are pleased to be able to further enhance our leadership position in this area through this transaction with Bamboo,” he said. “We believe that gene therapy may hold the promise of bringing true disease modification for patients suffering from devastating diseases, and we hope to see this promise come to fruition—through new and existing in-house capabilities and potential partnership opportunities—in the years to come.”

Bamboo’s approximately 11,000-square-foot, fully staffed and operational manufacturing facility has experience producing Phase I/II materials using a superior suspension, cell-based production platform that increases scalability, efficiency, and purity, added Dolsten. “This helps enable [our] Duchenne muscular dystrophy program and other projects requiring large amounts of rAAV,” he continued. The facility, previously known as the University of North Carolina Vector Core facility, has served as a qualified supplier of rAAV vectors for several healthcare companies and academic institutions.

Pfizer previously acquired approximately 22% of Bamboo’s fully diluted equity during the first quarter of 2016 for a payment of approximately $43 million. Under the terms of this transaction, Pfizer acquired all of Bamboo’s remaining equity for an upfront payment of $150 million, and Bamboo’s selling shareholders will be eligible for potential milestone payments of up to $495 million contingent upon the progression of key assets through development, regulatory approval and commercialization. Bamboo is now a wholly owned subsidiary of Pfizer.

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