Pfizer said today it acquired a controlling interest in Redvax for an undisclosed price. The deal continues the pharma giant’s expansion of its vaccine portfolio with a preclinical human cytomegalovirus (CMV) candidate, as well as intellectual property and a technology platform related to a second, undisclosed program.
Redvax develops multicomponent virus-like particles (VLPs) and other protein assemblies for vaccine development. Pfizer sees a significant market in a vaccine against CMV, a herpes virus, because it infects 50-90% of the adult population, with a majority remaining asymptomatic, according to the company.
“We believe that combining Redvax’s assets with Pfizer’s commitment, expertise and resources will significantly enhance the potential of developing this important vaccine,” said Christian Schaub, Redvax managing director and CEO of Redbiotec, from which Redvax has been spun out.
Added Kathrin U. Jansen, Ph.D., Pfizer svp & CSO, vaccine research & early development: “We are working to bring innovative vaccines to market that prevent and treat serious diseases.”
The deal also continues Pfizer’s expansion of its vaccine portfolio, anchored by its Prevnar family, which at $3.974 billion topped GEN’s List of the Top 10 Best-Selling Vaccines of 2013. While sales dipped 3.5% from 2012, Pfizer’s Prevnar family enjoyed a comeback in 2014 with sales rising 11% in the first nine months of 2014, to $3.163 billion.
A key driver in Prevnar’s 2014 sales gain was Uncle Sam: U.S. sales of Prevnar 13 jumped 26% during Q3, “primarily driven by government purchasing patterns and increased demand,” the company stated in an October 28 press release.
Until now, Pfizer’s biggest move in vaccines came in July 2014, when it shelled out $635 million for two vaccines marketed in Europe and related production facilities from Baxter—NeisVac-C, which helps protect against meningitis caused by group C meningococcal meningitis; and FSME-IMMUN, which helps protect against tick-borne encephalitis (TBE). Pfizer also agreed to buy a portion of Baxter’s facility in Orth, Austria, where the vaccines are manufactured.
The Pfizer-Baxter deal was part of the latter’s restructuring before spinning out its branded drug business under the name Baxalta.