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Pfizer Acquires Baxter Vaccines Business

Vaccination (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

(U.S. Army Corps of Engineers)

31 July 2014. Baxter International in Deerfield, Illinois sold its vaccines operations to Pfizer Inc. in New York for $635 million. The deal covers two current Baxter vaccines and part of a plant in Orth, Austria where the vaccines are produced.

One of the vaccines acquired by Pfizer, FSME-IMMUN, protects against tick-borne encephalitis, a viral infection affecting the central nervous system. The disease is spread by ticks, which are often hosted on rodents. Humans, however, can act as accidental hosts. The symptoms range from headaches, malaise and vomiting to confusion, sensory disturbances, and paralysis.

FSME-IMMUN is given as an injection with an adjuvant or booster. The vaccine is available in Europe, but recommended for travelers to Europe who may be visiting regions where ticks are more numerous, such as grasslands and wooded areas, including outdoor enthusiasts, hikers, and armed forces personnel.

The second Baxter vaccine is NeisVac-C that protects against meningitis from the group C meningococcal bacteria. NeisVac-C is made from inactivated extracts of group C bacteria. It is given as an injection and available outside the U.S.

Meningitis is an inflammation of the membranes surrounding the brain and spinal cord, which can be caused by bacteria or viruses, but bacterial meningitis is considered more serious. Early symptoms of headache, fever, and a stiff neck can lead to more serious complications including hearing loss, brain damage, kidney failure, or death.

Pfizer’s current vaccines program includes developing a vaccine for group B  meningococcal bacteria, as well as Staphylococcus aureus and Clostridium difficile bacteria associated with health care associated infections.

The companies expect the deal to close by the end of the year. Before then, Baxter expects vaccine sales of about $300 million, including $50 million in one-time milestone payments from government collaborations for developing influenza vaccines.

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Hat tip: FirstWord Pharma

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