Pfizer to buy Baxter's vaccine portfolio for $635 million

Pfizer announced Wednesday a definitive agreement to acquire Baxter's portfolio of marketed vaccines, including the group C meningococcal meningitis immunisation NeisVac-C and the tick-borne encephalitis vaccine FSME-IMMUN/TicoVac, for $635 million. Pfizer noted that as part of the deal, it will also purchase a portion of Baxter's vaccine manufacturing facility in Orth, Austria.

Susan Silbermann, president of Pfizer's vaccines unit, said "through this acquisition, we will add two high-quality and life-saving vaccines that bring scale and depth to our portfolio." Baxter noted that both vaccines are currently available outside the US, mainly in a number of European countries, and are expected to generate $300 million in revenue in 2014. Pfizer indicated that it does not expect the transaction, which is scheduled to close by the end of the year, to alter its 2014 earnings guidance.

The purchase comes after Pfizer CEO Ian Read stated that the company was "aggressively" pursuing acquisition targets following its failed takeover of AstraZeneca. Earlier in July, Pfizer agreed to purchase InnoPharma for up to $360 million.

Ludwig Hantson, president of Baxter's BioScience unit, noted that the transaction "reflects our strategic priority to optimise the portfolio and enhance focus in specific disease areas as [the division] prepares to become a separate, independent global biopharmaceutical company." Baxter announced in March that the company would split into two separate companies, with one focused on developing and marketing biopharmaceuticals and the other on medical products.

"We are redirecting resources and investing in our robust pipeline centered on core areas of expertise - haematology and immunology - and through technology platforms like gene therapy and biosimilars," Hantson remarked. The company, which estimates that the divestment will reduce 2015 earnings by about $0.15 per share, added that it "continues to explore strategic options, including the potential for partnering or divesting its R&D programmes focused on influenza and Lyme disease."

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