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Pfizer Invests $6.7 Billion in Medical Cannabis

The company Pfizer has followed in the vein of other big pharma companies. The American giant has entered the medical cannabis market in a $6.7 billion deal. Pfizer has bought all shares of the biotech company Arena Pharmaceuticals. Specializing in experimental treatments for Crohn’s disease, Arena Pharmaceutical has only one marketing authorization in the USA.

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The American laboratory Pfizer joined Jazz Pharma and the laboratory Johnson & Johnson in the race to conquer the medical cannabis market. Indeed, Pfizer has just acquired another laboratory specializing in the production of medicines based on cannabis in the United States.

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The new acquisition of the pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is called Arena Pharmaceuticals

According to Forbes: “Under the agreement terms, Pfizer acquires all shares for $100 per share in an all-cash transaction. Moreover, the press release reads that the proposed transaction will be subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of regulatory approvals and approval by Arena’s stockholders.”

Arena Pharmaceuticals is an American company that produces drugs from its headquarters in San Diego, California, since 2012. One of the treatments for irritable bowel syndrome, called Olorionab, is based on cannabis and is in Arena Pharmaceuticals’s development pipeline.

Specializing in experimental treatments for Crohn’s disease, Arena Pharmaceutical has only one marketing authorization in the USA. Since 2012 it has been marketing the molecule it patented: Lorcaserin. It is in fact a treatment to fight against obesity. The name of this drug is ‘Belviq’.

Pfizer doesn’t need any introduction. The multinational company’s profits are expected to be stratospheric this year, thanks to its global vaccine trial on COVID that ends in 2023. On the acquisition side, the patent that Pfizer is interested in is the treatment called Olorinab. This involves using cannabinoids via human CB2 receptors against pain and symptoms of inflammation in the abdominal area.

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The biotechnology company managed to raise $6.7 billion to carry out research on drugs based on cannabinoids and becomes in some way the specialized unit of Pfizer in the field of drugs based on cannabis.

7 billions, to give you an idea, it is the equivalent of the French trade deficit for one year. While the multinationals are investing, France is cutting itself off from any hope of research or development in this sector by starting to ban hemp flowers, for example. The startup nation will therefore suffer the will of the multinationals for its medical cannabis-based treatments for lack of development and funded initiative in this direction.

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(Featured image by Marco Verch Professional Photographer CC BY 2.0 via Flickr)

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First published in Le Cannabiste, a third-party contributor translated and adapted the article from the original. In case of discrepancy, the original will prevail.

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Anthony Donaghue writes about science and technology. Keeping abreast of the latest tech developments in various sectors, he has a keen interest on startups, especially inside and outside of Silicon Valley. From time to time, he also covers agritech and biotech, as well as consumer electronics, IT, AI, and fintech, among others. He has also written about IPOs, cannabis, and investing.