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Pharma Giant Pfizer follows Jazz and Tilray into Cannabis R&D Space; Acquires Arena for US$6,7 billion

Pfizer has its sights on Olorinab which treats pain through CB receptors

Pharmaceutal giant Pfizer has entered the cannabis space with a US$6,7 billion cash acquisition of San Diego-based Arena Pharmaceuticals Inc. 

The deal, which amounts to US$100 for all outstanding Arena shares, was announced on 13 December 2021 by both parties. Pfizer will use cash on hand to fund the acquisition of Arena, which focuses on developing new treatments for various immuno-inflammatory ailments and encouraging treatment candidates in the gastroenterology, dermatology and cardiology areas.

Arena has a dedicated cannabinoid research and arm, most known for developing its investigational drug contender dubbed Olorinab, which is the core of all Arena biotech operations. Olorinab is an oral, full agonist of the CB2 receptor formulated to treat pain and other symptoms associated with gastrointestinal disorders.

Pfizer Inflammation and Immunology Global President Mike Gladstone told Bezinga that the “proposed acquisition of Arena complements our capabities and expertise in inflammation and immunology, a Pfizer innovation engine developing potential therapies for patients with debilitating immune-inflammatory diseases with a need for more effective treatment options”.

Arena President and CEO Amit D. Munshi said in a statement: “Pfizer’s capabilities will accelerate our mission to deliver our important medicines to patients,” “We believe this transaction represents the best next step for both patients and shareholders.”


Pfizer just the latest Big Pharma Co Paying Big Cash for Cannabis R&D

Pfizer is not the first large pharmaceutical company to stride into the cannabis space. In early 2021, Jazz Pharmaceuticals acquired GW Pharmaceuticals along with their Food and Drug Administration-approved cannabinoid therapy Epidiolex — a treatment for children with severe seizures.

In 2018, Tilray made a medical cannabis distribution arrangement with drug giant Novartis AG. Johnson and Johnson, in 2017, brought Avicanna onboard into their 40,000 square foot life sciences innovation center in Toronto, Canada.

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