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12 April, 2022 - 20:53 By Tony Quested

Pfizer offers $525 million for UK therapeutics company

Pharma giant Pfizer is strengthening its hand in the East of England with a proposed $525 million acquisition of ReViral, which is based at Stevenage Bioscience Catalyst.

That figure includes upfront and development milestones. If successful, Pfizer believes annual revenue for the relevant programs has the potential to reach or exceed $1.5 billion. 

The proposed transaction is subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals.

Quoted on Wall Street, Pfizer has major UK operations including a Devices Centre of Excellence in Cambridge specialising in the design and development of medicines delivery devices.

ReViral is a privately held, clinical-stage biopharma company focused on discovering, developing, and commercialising novel antiviral therapeutics that target respiratory syncytial virus RSV). Dr Eddy Littler – formerly CEO of Cambridge-based Domainex – is ReViral’s chief operating officer.

RSV is a respiratory pathogen, which can lead to severe and life-threatening lower respiratory tract infections in high-risk populations, including young infants, immunocompromised individuals, and older adults. 

It is estimated to cause infections in some 64 million people resulting in about 160,000 deaths globally each year.

ReViral has a portfolio of promising therapeutic candidates including sisunatovir, an orally administered inhibitor designed to block fusion of the RSV virus to the host cell. 

Sisunatovir significantly reduced viral load in a phase 2 RSV human challenge study in healthy adults and is currently in phase 2 clinical development in infants. 

The development program for sisunatovir is expected to continue in both adult and paediatric populations. A second program is focused on the inhibition of RSV replication targeting the viral N protein. The lead candidate in this program is currently in phase 1 clinical development.

Albert Bourla, chairman and CEO at Pfizer said: “At Pfizer, we have a strong heritage in, and commitment to, fighting infectious diseases, most recently evidenced by our delivery of the first authorised vaccine and oral therapy to combat COVID-19.

“We’re continuing to grow our pipeline – through our own research-and-development efforts, such as our investigational RSV vaccine programs, as well as strategic investments in companies like ReViral – with a focus on end-to-end capabilities to help protect patients from severe illness, hospitalisation and death.”

ReViral CEO Alex Sapir said that since the foundation of the company a decade ago, ReViral’s mission has always been to develop world-class therapies for RSV patients

“This acquisition represents a validation of the deep antiviral experience of the ReViral team and our unwavering commitment to deliver therapies for patients in need,” he said.

“Pfizer is an optimal partner given its commitment to RSV through its ongoing RSV vaccine program, coupled with its world-class clinical, regulatory, manufacturing and commercial capabilities. We look forward to working with our colleagues at Pfizer to bring these therapies to patients as quickly as possible.”

Clifford Chance LLP is acting as Pfizer’s legal adviser. Centerview Partners LLC and BofA Securities served as ReViral’s financial advisers with Goodwin Procter LLP acting as its legal adviser.

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