Seagen on rumored Pfizer deal: ‘It’s all noise, until it isn’t’

Pfizer is the latest company rumored to be buying antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) developer Seagen, but Seagen says the deal is all noise… until it isn’t.  

The potential acquisition of Seagen (previously Seattle Genetics) has been circulating news outlets since June last year when the Wall Street Journal reported Merck & Co. was interested in buying the Bothell, Washington to increase its oncology portfolio and pipeline. Last week, the same outlet reported Pfizer is considering purchasing the ADC manufacturer.  

While the deal is speculative at this time, Jeff Baker, senior fellow for The National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals (NIIMBL), asked Mike Vandiver, site head, launch pad manufacturing, executive director at Seagen at BPI West 2023 in San Diego, California if it “has been a challenge to keep people on task” amidst the rumored acquisition.

Image: DepositPhotos/EdZbarzhyvetsky

Vandiver said he could not make any comment regarding the Pfizer rumor but told Baker “The current staff are not distracted [and] it is just noise, until it is not.”  

If a deal were to be made, Pfizer would add approximately 10 candidates to its pipeline, along with the approved cancer products Adcetris (brentuximab vedotin), Padcev (enfortumab vedotin), Tivdak (tisotumab vedotin), and Tuksya (tucatinib). 

With a heft pipeline and approved products, Vandiver said “even if an acquisition does happen, they are buying us for our people and for our products.”  

Seagen announced plans in April 2022 to spend between $350 and $400 million to construct a greenfield biomanufacturing site in Everett, Washington and the site is expected to be operationally ready for clinical material production for antibodies in October 2024.