Pfizer to buy Anacor in $5.2 billion deal for access to eczema gel

Tue May 17, 2016 1:52am EDT
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By Amrutha Penumudi

(Reuters) - Pfizer Inc (PFE.N: Quote) is buying Anacor Pharmaceuticals Inc ANAC.O in a $5.2 billion deal to add an eczema gel to its portfolio, just a month after the U.S. drug major scrapped plans to acquire Allergan Plc (AGN.N: Quote).

Anacor shares surged as much as 56 percent to $99.94 on Monday, above the offer price of $99.25 per share in cash. The net-of-cash deal value assumes conversion of Anacor's outstanding convertible notes, the companies said in a statement.

The deal hints at a shift in Pfizer's M&A strategy from lowering taxes - the rationale behind its $160 billion bid for Dublin-based Allergan - to strengthening its drugs portfolio ahead of a decision on selling or spinning off its generic medicines business by late 2016.

The recent pullback in valuations of biotech firms could stimulate Pfizer's appetite for deals, analysts said. The company is also reported to be in talks to buy cancer drug maker Medivation Inc MDVN.O.

The equity value of the Anacor deal is $4.45 billion, based on the company's outstanding fully diluted shares as of March 31. Anacor stock had fallen 43 percent this year to Friday's close.

The acquisition will give Pfizer access to a non-steroidal topical gel, crisaborole, which is currently under review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of mild to moderate eczema.

Pfizer said it believed crisaborole had the potential to reach or exceed peak sales of $2 billion.

In the past 15 years, there have been no new molecules approved for eczema - or atopic dermatitis - a common, relapsing, inflammatory skin disorder that affects 18-25 million people in the United States.   Continued...

A man walks past Pfizer's world headquarters in New York April 28, 2014.  REUTERS/Andrew Kelly/File Photo