Pfizer spends $6.7bn to enter the medical cannabis industry

21st December 2021

Pfizer, the company behind one of the coronavirus vaccines, has announced the acquisition of a biotech company, marking their entrance into the ever-evolving medical cannabis scene.

Forbes reports that Pfizer, an American multinational pharmaceutical and biotechnology corporation, has acquired all the outstanding shares of Arena Pharmaceutical for $100 per share in an all-cash deal, valuing Arena for about US$6.7bn.

This move will allow Pfizer to invest in the development of a treatment of ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s Disease that is currently in late-stage development.

In a press release Mike Gladstone, Global President of Inflammation & Immunology at Pfizer, said: “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 immuno-inflammatory diseases with a need for more effective treatment options.”

It is reported that Arena is also developing a cannabinoid type 2 receptor (CB2) antagonist. The formulation could pave the way in cannabinoid research with a focus on visceral pain associated with gastrointestinal disorders.

Nawan Butt, portfolio manager of The Medical Cannabis and Wellness UCITS ETC (CBDX), added that the acquisition is a clear sign of the huge growth potential of the medical cannabis sector and how it is becoming more mainstream.

He said: “This acquisition displays the interest big pharma is taking in the fast-evolving world of cannabinoids.

“We are encouraged by the acquisition as it provides more resources and a wider platform for pharmaceutical development of cannabinoids. Overall, this transaction is in line with Pfizer’s long-term focus on innovative research and a great win for our investors.”

Pfizer is not the only Big Pharma that found the medical cannabis industry attractive. As the mood is slowly shifting towards a more open dialogue, medical cannabis has all the potential to be an effective substitute for the deadly opioids.

If more companies such as Pfizer could invest in medical cannabis, lives could and will be saved in the near future.

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