Pfizer explores options for some rare disease, cancer drugs

Pfizer company logo is seen at a Pfizer office in Puurs, Belgium, December 2, 2022. REUTERS/Johanna Geron

Jan 6 (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) is exploring options for some early-stage treatments for rare diseases and cancer in a bid to focus on "high-impact" medicines and vaccines, the company said on Thursday.

The U.S. drugmaker said these options included collaborations with other drug developers for these medicines, or establishing a new company.

Pfizer now plans to focus on internally developing rare disease treatments using technologies such as gene editing, it said, while exploring external opportunities for early-stage gene therapy programs and its cancer-focused research facility in Boulder, Colorado.

It would also seek to externally advance its gene therapy facility in Durham, North Carolina, the drugmaker said.

That would free the company, which has been investing heavily in its internal pipeline of medicines and striking deals to boost revenue, to focus its internal portfolio of experimental treatments to areas where the company thinks it is "best-positioned".

"We believe these actions will position us to lead the industry in reaching more patients," a company spokesperson said in an emailed statement, adding that depending on the externalization approaches taken, Pfizer may maintain ties to some of these programs through strategic investments.

Pfizer in August 2022 announced a $5.4 billion deal for sickle cell disease drugmaker Global Blood Therapeutics , months after its $11.6 billion deal for Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holding (BHVN.N).

Financial newspaper Barron's first reported on Pfizer's plans on Thursday.

(This story has been corrected to say value for Global Blood Therapeutics deal is $5.4 billion, not $4.5 billion, in paragraph 7)

Reporting by Manas Mishra, Akriti Sharma, Abinaya Vijayaraghavan and Shubhendu Deshmukh in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Akanksha Khushi; Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips and Nivedita Bhattacharjee

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