Pfizer Bolsters RSV Position with $525 Million ReViral Buy

Courtesy of JHVEPhoto/Getty Images

Courtesy of JHVEPhoto/Getty Images

JHVEPhoto/Getty Images

Pfizer is taking a deeper dive into infectious disease with the acquisition of North Carolina-based ReViral, a biotech focused on developing therapeutics that target respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

Courtesy of JHVEPhoto/Getty Images

Pfizer is taking a deeper dive into infectious disease with the acquisition of North Carolina-based ReViral, a privately-held biotech focused on developing novel antiviral therapeutics that target respiratory syncytial virus (RSV).

The acquisition is expected to complement the pharma giant’s ongoing efforts to develop a vaccine for RSV, a leading cause of bronchitis and pneumonia, and one of the most common infections in the world. Last month, Pfizer snagged Breakthrough Therapy designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for its RSV vaccine candidate PF-06482077, also known as RSVpreF.

Pfizer’s RSVpreF is currently in Phase III. The vaccine candidate is being developed to protect against RSV in infants through maternal immunization. It is also being developed to prevent RSV in adults over the age of 60. Data from these studies are expected within the next several months.

ReViral’s lead RSV candidate sisunatovir is an orally administered fusion inhibitor currently in Phase II of development. The mechanism of action for sisunatovir is believed to have the potential to block the fusion of the virus with the host cell. If clinical data shows successful blocking, it could ultimately change the standard of care for RSV. Current treatment options are extremely limited and focus primarily on supportive care.

Two years ago, the FDA granted Fast Track designation to sisunatovir, and last year, the company completed Part A of its Phase II REVIRAL1 study of sisunatovir for the treatment of RSV infections in hospitalized infants. That study is a three-part program aimed to assess single and multiple doses of sisunatovir in otherwise healthy infants between the ages of 1 and 36 months hospitalized with RSV lower respiratory tract infections. REVIRAL1 has moved into Part B of the study, a placebo-controlled assessment.

ReViral also has a second program focused on the inhibition of RSV replication. That program, which is in Phase I, targets the viral N protein. If the ReViral programs prove to be successful within the clinic, Pfizer said it believes the company’s assets could exceed $1.5 billion in annual revenue.

Annaliesa Anderson, chief scientific officer of bacterial vaccines and hospital at Pfizer, said the acquisition of the ReViral pipeline bolsters the company’s own programs for RSV. Through the combination of Pfizer’s efforts and those of ReViral, Anderson said they will be able to offer more shots on goal at potential RSV therapies.

“This acquisition represents a validation of the deep antiviral experience of the ReViral team and our unwavering commitment to deliver therapies for patients in need. Pfizer is an optimal partner given their commitment to RSV through their ongoing RSV vaccine program, coupled with their world-class clinical, regulatory, manufacturing and commercial capabilities,” Alex C. Sapir, CEO of ReViral said in a statement.

Pfizer Chairman and CEO Albert Bourla said the deal for ReViral, which is valued at up to $525 million, bolsters the company’s commitment to fighting infectious diseases. The company is one of the few large pharma giants with anti-infective programs across the three primary infectious types of viral, bacterial and fungal.

“We’re continuing to grow our pipeline – through our own research-and-development efforts, such as our investigational RSV vaccine programs, as well as strategic investments in companies like ReViral – with a focus on end-to-end capabilities to help protect patients from severe illness, hospitalization, and death,” Bourla said in a statement.

Under terms of the deal, Pfizer will acquire ReViral for $525 million, which includes an undisclosed upfront payment, as well as milestone payments.

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