Pfizer takes 15% stake in gene therapy firm Vivet

The deal, worth a potential $636 million, will help accelerate Pfizer’s adeno-associated virus (AAV) directed gene therapy portfolio, the firm says.

Emerging French biotech firm Vivet Therapeutics has a gene therapy pipeline based on its adeno-associated virus (AAV) technologies with lead candidate VTX-801 preparing to enter the clinic as a potential treatment for Wilson disease.

The firm will now benefit from support from Pfizer after the Big Pharma firm paid around €45 million ($51 million) to acquire a 15% equity interest stake, with the option to acquire 100% of the company dependent on Phase I/II clinical trial data for VTX-801. If taken, Pfizer could pay up to €560 million ($636 million) for the firm, subject to certain clinical, regulatory, and commercial milestones.

Image: iStock/Ankabala

The deal “offers an important expansion of Pfizer’s commitment to collaborate with the scientific community and to accelerate our leading AAV-directed gene therapy portfolio,” said Mikael Dolsten, CSO and president of Pfizer’s Worldwide Research, Development, and Medical.

The partnership is the latest investment in gene therapies by Pfizer, which first entered the field in 2014 through a collaboration with Spark Therapeutics. The same year, the firm acquired Bamboo Therapeutics through an upfront $150 million payment, bringing it an advanced recombinant Adeno-Associated Virus (rAAV) vector design and production technology, and a fully functional Phase I/II gene therapy manufacturing facility in North Carolina.

At the time, Pfizer said it aimed to become “an industry leader in the field of gene therapy, which holds tremendous promise to deliver highly specialized, one-time, transformative therapies to patients in areas of high unmet medical need, particularly in rare, monogenic diseases with loss of function.”

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