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Pfizer’s Metabolic, Rare Disease Segments: Hope for the Future?

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Pfizer’s revenue growth drivers

Pfizer has a strong presence in oncology as well as immunology and inflammation. It’s also actively diversifying in the metabolic and rare disease segments through collaborations and acquisitions.

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Partnership with Merck

By the end of 2016, Pfizer (PFE) expects to submit two NDAs (New Drug Applications) for ertugliflozin to the FDA (U.S. Food and Drug Administration). It also expects to file NDAs for two combination therapies with ertugliflozin, one with Januvia and the other with metformin.

Pfizer is developing the ertugliflozin therapy in partnership with Merck & Co. (MRK). The filing will include results from the Phase 3 study VERTIS SITA2, which demonstrated the efficacy of investigational oral SGLT2 inhibitor ertugliflozin as a treatment option for type 2 diabetes patients.

If Pfizer gets regulatory approval for ertugliflozin, it may boost the company’s share price as well as the shares of the SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA). Pfizer makes up about 1.2% of DIA’s total portfolio holdings.

Acquisition of Bamboo Therapeutics

On August 1, 2016, Pfizer announced that it has acquired Bamboo Therapeutics. The acquisition added to Pfizer’s portfolio multiple clinical and preclinical investigational drugs targeted at several rare diseases. The rare diseases are mainly those related to neuromuscular and central nervous system conditions. Bamboo Therapeutics also added a strong gene therapy development platform to Pfizer’s portfolio.

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According to Pfizer, “Gene therapy is an emerging area of medical research focused on highly specialized, one-time, transformative treatments addressing the root cause of diseases caused by genetic mutation. Gene therapy is a promising investigational technology, especially for patients with rare diseases, many of which are caused by a single genetic mutation. The technology involves introducing genetic material into the body to deliver a corrected copy of a gene to a patient’s cells to compensate for a defective one. The genetic material can be delivered to the cells by a variety of means, most frequently using a viral vector such as rAAV.”

Partnership with Spark Therapeutics

Pfizer and Spark Therapeutics are developing SPK-9001, a hemophilia B therapy. According to a Pfizer press release, “Hemophilia is a rare genetic bleeding disorder that causes the blood to take a long time to clot as a result of a deficiency in one of several blood clotting factors, and occurs almost exclusively in males.”

These developments will help Pfizer pose strong competition to other pharmaceutical players such as Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY) and Eli Lilly (LLY).

In the next part, we’ll explore some growth prospects for Pfizer’s vaccines portfolio in 2016.

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