On April 28th, Pfizer announced that it has bought the privately held infectious disease biotech Amplyx Pharmaceuticals for an undisclosed sum. From the deal, Pfizer is expected to gain a set of experimental antifungals and antivirals along with Amplyx’s most advanced antifungal treatment, fosmanogepix. The acquisition follows an initial equity investment by Pfizer in December 2019 as part of Amplyx’s Series C financing.
Infectious diseases have created a significant burden on the healthcare industry. The World Health Organization reports that new infectious diseases are continuing to emerge, and familiar ones are appearing in new locations around the globe.
Last year, the SARS-CoV-2 virus affected millions globally, and over 3.19 million succumbed to the infection. Besides the novel coronavirus, other infectious agents have been actively affecting people. More than 1.5 million cases of invasive fungal infections occur worldwide each year with high mortality rates.
Amplyx’s lead treatment Fosmanogepix is an antifungal medication, which is currently being tested in the Phase2 trials for its safety and efficacy in both intravenous and oral formulations. If validated in the clinic, it will be used to treat life-threatening fungal infections caused by molds, yeasts, and rare molds.
So far, Fosmanogepix has demonstrated broad-spectrum activity in vitro and has been able to reach various tissues, including the brain, lung, kidney, and eye. In the clinical trials, it was able to show an 80% treatment success rate in patients with invasive fungal infections caused by Candida. Since the treatment is being tested in both oral and intravenous forms, in the future, patients can be treated outside the hospital.
In addition to Fosmanogepix, Pfizer will gain Amplyx’s early-stage pipeline, including one antiviral treatment, MAU868, and another antifungal treatment, APX2039. MAU868 is currently in Phase 1 studies for conditions associated with the BK virus, which can create complications in immunocompromised people. APX2039 is still in the preclinical studies to treat Cryptococcus.
Pfizer’s Commitment to Infectious Diseases
In July last year, who’s who of Big Pharma companies, including Pfizer, banded together to speed up the development of new antibiotics. The companies pledged to spend $1 billion that will be used to develop two to four new antibiotics by 2030.
Pfizer’s acquisition of Amplyx fits into its larger strategy of building its portfolio of anti-infective therapies, which can be clearly seen through its investment in antibiotics initiative. Pfizer has a big business of anti-infectives that the company built over time through acquisitions and in-house research. Pfizer’s antifungal med Vfend pulled in revenues of $270 million in the pandemic. Pfizer reels in $8 billion through hospital business every year.
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