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20 Dec 2021

Case Study: Pfizer’s Arena acquisition – A $6.7B deal

Pfizer will acquire Arena Pharmaceuticals for $6.7 billion to expand its pipeline of immuno-inflammatory disease drugs in development.

Why Pfizer acquired Arena?

The proposed acquisition of Arena complements Pfizer’s capabilities and expertise in inflammation and immunology. Pfizer’s strong innovation platform will develop etrasimod for patients with immuno-inflammatory diseases.

Etrasimod, Arena’s Phase II/II lead candidate, is an oral, selective sphingosine 1-phosphate (S1P) receptor modulator under study for a range of immuno-inflammatory diseases—notably moderately to severely active ulcerative colitis (UC), for which the drug is in two pivotal Phase III trials:

  • ELEVATE UC 12 (NCT03996369), designed to assess the safety and efficacy of etrasimod on clinical remission at 12 weeks following treatment with etrasimod, as assessed by the FDA-required, 3-domain, modified Mayo Score.
  • ELEVATE UC 52 (NCT03945188), a one-year trial designed to evaluate clinical remission at 12 weeks, or induction, and at 52 weeks, following treatment with etrasimod.

Data from both ELEVATE studies is expected to be read out in 2022, Arena and Pfizer said.

That’s not all!

Also in Arena’s pipeline are two internally developed clinical-stage cardiovascular assets. One is Temanogrel, a peripherally acting, and selective 5-HT2A receptor inverse agonist designed to inhibit serotonin (5-HT)-mediated amplification of platelet aggregation and vasoconstriction Temanogrel is in Phase II for the treatment of microvascular obstruction and Raynaud’s phenomenon secondary to systemic sclerosis.

The other internal pipeline candidate is APD418, a potentially first-in-class, investigational, β3-adrenergic receptor (AdrR) antagonist and cardiac myotrope for acute heart failure. APD418 is a selective antagonist designed to improve cardiac contractility with minimal effect on heart rate and blood pressure. Arena reasons that inhibition of β3-AdrR–mediated myofilament repression may provide a cardiomyocyte-specific target to enhance cardiac contractile performance. APD418 is in a Phase II study in acute heart failure.

Beyond APD418 and Temanogrel, Arena’s pipeline includes an up-to-$70 million collaboration with Aristea Therapeutics to develop its lead candidate RIST4721 in two dermatology indications: palmoplantar pustulosis, for which a Phase IIb trial is being planned, as well as for hidradenitis suppurativa, now in exploratory stages according to Arena.

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