After months of sitting on the bench Pfizer is back in the M&A game with the buyout of the private Swiss biotech Therachon, for an initial $340m. The purchase price might be little league but the move is right in Pfizer’s rare disease wheelhouse, giving it TA-46, a phase I candidate for achondroplasia, also known as short-limbed dwarfism. Pfizer’s focus is primarily on TA-46 and the follow-on agent TA-100, so the rest of Therachon, which includes the short bowel syndrome project apraglutide, will be spun out into a new company. The pharma giant will retain a stake in this via its venture arm Pfizer Ventures, which participated in Therachon's $60m fund raising last year. In taking a punt on achondroplasia Pfizer will be competing against Biomarin’s vosoritide, the most advanced research project in this field. Biomarin is conducting a 110-patient trial in 5-14 year olds that is due to read out by the end of the year. But vosoritide has not been without its issues, and the injection of Pfizer’s cash and knowhow could narrow the gap between the two assets.
|Selected achondroplasia assets|
|Project||Company||Status||2024e sales ($m)|
|Vosoritide||Biomarin Pharmaceutical||Phase III||586|
|TransCon CNP||Ascendis Pharma||Phase I||21|