Photo courtesy of Cannabis Wealth

News | 12.17.2021

Pfizer Ventures Into Cannabis Industry After Acquiring Arena Pharmaceuticals For $6.7 Billion

Bringing modern medicine to the masses.

Over the past year, we’ve heard a few cases of big pharma companies venturing into the cannabis industry, but the latest announcement is by far the most exciting. Please give a warm welcome to pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, who just acquired Arena Pharmaceuticals for a whopping $6.7 billion.

On Monday, both publicly-traded companies confirmed that they had penned a definitive agreement, allowing Pfizer to acquire all outstanding shares of Arena Pharmaceuticals for $100 per share in cash-based transactions. Once Pfizer receives all necessary approvals to begin the venture, they expect to finance the transaction with existing, on-hand cash. 

Photo courtesy of Proactive Investors

Let’s talk about what this means for the cannabis industry, Pfizer, and Arena. First, Arean Pharmaceuticals is a San-Deigo-based biotech company with a sector of its drug pipeline committed to cannabinoid-related therapeutics. Currently, Arena is most known for developing its investigational drug contender dubbed Olorinab, which is the core of all Arena biotech operations.

According to Benzinga, Olorinab is a full oral agonist of the cannabinoid receptor 2, which is constantly being researched to help treat numerous symptoms, especially those regarding visceral pain linked to gastrointestinal conditions.

Besides Olorinab, Arena’s drug pipeline is focused on non-cannabinoids drugs that concentrate on creating innovative potential therapies to help treat various immuno-inflammatory illnesses. The pharmaceutical company’s broad portfolio also holds diverse and forward-thinking developmental-stage therapeutic prospects in gastroenterology, dermatology, and cardiology.


Mike Gladstone, global president, and general manager of Pfizer Inflammation and Immunology wrote in a press release that the pharma giant’s acquisition of Arena complements Pfizer’s capabilities and expertise in Inflammation and Immunology, which is a Pfizer innovation engine developing potential therapies for “patients with debilitating immuno-inflammatory diseases with a need for more effective treatment options,” reports Benzinga.

In addition, Gladstone notes that by utilizing Pfizer’s trailblazing research and global developmental abilities, Pfizer plans to “accelerate the clinical development of etrasimod for patients with immuno-inflammatory diseases.” Etrasimod is Arena Pharmaceuticals’ drug contender that could possibly help treat immune-mediated and inflammatory diseases.

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On Arena’s end, the company’s president and CEO Amir D. Munshi noted in a separate press release that his company is “thrilled” to be acquired by Pfizer. Munshi added that the recent acquisition by Pfizer means one of the leading pharma giants is recognizing Arena’s potentially “best in class S1P molecule and [Arena’s] contribution to addressing unmet needs in immune-mediated inflammatory diseases.”

Munshi concludes that Pfizer’s developmental capabilities will maintain and push Arena’s mission forward to deliver crucial medicines to patients in need. He believes “this transaction represents the best next step for both patients and shareholders.”

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