Pfizer Courts Seagen in Potential Merger Talks

Seagen, the Seattle-based biotech firm, is back in the spotlight after reportedly entering into discussions with pharmaceutical giant Pfizer for a possible acquisition. According to sources familiar with the matter, this comes after the company’s failed deal with Merck last year. The Wall Street Journal broke the news Sunday evening.

Pfizer and Seagen have been engaging in early-stage negotiations, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, and the outcome remains uncertain. Whether or not the two companies can reach a deal remains to be seen.

Seagen’s blockbuster potential could be realized with a potential buyout that could make it one of biopharma’s biggest acquisitions ever. Seagen currently has a market cap of $30.14 billion and any acquisition agreement is expected to be of a colossal size. If a deal does come to fruition, it will be a defining moment in biopharma history.

In January, Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) raised red flags about the potential ramifications of rampant consolidation in the pharmaceutical industry, writing a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) commissioners. Any potential deal between pharmaceutical giants Pfizer and Seagen would be subject to this heightened antitrust scrutiny, making its success far from guaranteed.

Seagen and Pfizer have been contacted for comment by BioSpace regarding the matter. Stay tuned for more updates on this developing story.

In June 2022, Merck reportedly made a play for Seagen, a cancer-focused biotech, sparking a bidding war for the company. While negotiations advanced to an advanced stage, Pfizer swooped in to steal the show in July 2022 with an offer of around $40 billion. Though the deal was first broken by the Wall Street Journal, it was the scale of the deal that truly made headlines.

In August 2022, negotiations over pricing came to a standstill, with both sides unable to reach an agreement. Since then, progress has been minimal, leaving the future of the deal uncertain.

ADC Alliance

If a deal between Pfizer and one of the biggest players in the antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) industry pushes through, it will be a major development in the field. It will bring two of the most influential forces in this cutting-edge area of medicine together, creating a powerful combination that could have far-reaching implications.

In 2010, Pfizer made history when their ADC, Mylotarg, became the first of its kind to be approved by the FDA for use in treating acute myelogenous leukemia (AML). However, due to potentially fatal side effects, the drug was withdrawn shortly thereafter. Fast forward to 2017, and Mylotarg is back with a lower dose and approval specifically for patients with CD33-positive disease.

Seagen’s Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin) is making a big splash in the oncology world. In August 2011, the FDA approved Adcetris for Hodgkin lymphoma and systemic anaplastic large cell lymphoma, making it the second ADC to receive regulatory approval. Since then, Adcetris has racked up several more oncology approvals, and Seagen is expecting it to become a blockbuster drug by 2023.

Pfizer’s potential buyout of Seagen could give them access to Padcev (enfortumab vedotin-ejfv) – a drug with blockbuster potential, particularly in bladder cancer treatment. Already approved for locally advanced or metastatic urothelial cancer, Padcev could be a major asset to Pfizer, alongside Adcetris, which Seagen also predicts to be a major success.

Seagen is on a mission to broaden the use of Padcev beyond its current indications, with the FDA granting priority review for its accelerated approval in the first-line treatment of metastatic bladder cancer. This is a monumental step forward in providing hope to those suffering from this devastating disease.

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