Pfizer Enters Cannabis Space with $6 Billion Acquisition

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The pharmaceutical giant Pfizer has announced plans to purchase Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc., a San Diego-based bioscience firm with a dedicated cannabinoid research and development arm, for $6 billion, Benzinga reports. The two companies made the announcement on Monday, detailing that Pfizer will pay $100 per stock share in an all-cash transaction.

The acquisition includes Arena’s investigational drug Olorinab, an oral, full agonist of the CB2 receptor formulated to treat symptoms associated with gastrointestinal disorders and other drugs that treat immune-inflammatory diseases.

“The proposed acquisition of Arena complements our capabilities 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.” — Mike Gladstone, Global President & General Manager, Pfizer Inflammation and Immunology, via Benzinga

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

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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