Pfizer taps Sangamo for hemophilia gene therapy
- Pfizer announced a deal Wednesday evening with Sangamo Therapeutics to work on hemophilia A gene therapies, including Sangamo’s SB-525.
- The big pharma will pay $70 million upfront plus $475 million in potential milestones, including up to $300 million for the development and commercialization of SB-525 and up to $175 million for additional hemophilia A gene therapy products.
- Sangamo will be responsible for Phase 1/2 studies, as well as some manufacturing efforts for SB-525, which is set to enter the clinic. Pfizer will then take over research, development, manufacturing and commercialization.
When Pfizer signed its deal with Spark Therapeutics in 2014 for the biotech’s hemophilia B gene therapy, it was said that Pfizer was buying into the resurgence of gene therapies — a bet not many were making after the flop of gene therapies a decade ago.
But three years later, as Spark’s lead gene therapy for blindness awaits approval from the Food and Drug Administration, it seems that Pfizer’s bet on gene therapy was a good one.
And the latest deal with Sangamo brings Pfizer further into the gene therapy space, albeit at a significantly higher price (Pfizer only paid Spark $20 million upfront and agreed to $260 million in milestones). Yet it could be argued that it would’ve cost Pfizer more to tap Spark a second time now that the company is nearing an approval for its lead product.
While the Sangamo drug is still early and far from reaching the market, the drug is set to start clinical testing later this quarter.
For Sangamo, the deal gives the small biotech more flexibility as far its resources as well as validating its gene technology platform.
"We believe our partnership with Pfizer will help make SB-525 a more successful product through thoughtful global development and commercialization at a scale that would not be possible for a company our size," said Sangamo CEO Sandy Macrae on a quarterly earnings call on May 10.
"I think the things that appealed us with Pfizer, to be honest, were really not just the money. It was that they had a common view with us for global development. That they had experience within the market," the exec added.
- Pfizer Press release
Follow Lisa LaMotta on Twitter