05 January 2004 00:00 [Source: ICB Americas]Pfizer Inc. is set to acquire Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Esperion Therapeutics Inc. for $1.3 billion in a move that boosts its cardiovascular portfolio and sent shares of Esperion soaring over 50 percent on December 22 to almost $35 per share.
The acquisition expands Pfizer's reach into the cardiovascular therapy market, in which it already has a ruling hand with the blockbuster cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor (atorvastatin). The drugmaker is also developing Lipitor/torcetrapib, a chronic therapy that works by combining atorvastatin with a cholesteryl ester transfer protein-inhibiting agent.
Esperion, a small biopharmaceutical company specializing in the development of high density lipoprotein (HDL) targeted therapies for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, made a name for itself when it published results of a Phase II clinical trial in early November regarding one of its lead product candidates, ETC-216, for coronary artery plaques and atherosclerosis. The compound was shown to rapidly reduce the size of plaques in coronary arteries and reverse atherosclerosis.
Pfizer also gets three other cardiovascular candidates: ETC-588, which is in Phase II development, and two candidates that recently completed Phase I-ETC-1001, a small-molecule, orally active lipid-regulating agent and ETC-642, an HDL (good cholesterol) mimic.
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