In their spare time from covid-19 vaccine development Pfizer has joined some fellow Big Pharma companies and thrown their money into the cannabis industry with the $6.7 billion acquisition of Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. On December 13 the two publicly-traded companies signed a definitive agreement “under which Pfizer will acquire all outstanding shares of Arena for $100 per share in an all-cash transaction”.
Arena Pharmaceuticals is a San Diego biotech company with one leg of its drug pipeline dedicated to cannabinoid-type therapeutics. The initial focus is on Olorinab (APD371) – a cannabinoid type 2 receptor (CB2) with an eye on treating visceral pain associated with gastrointestinal disorders.
“Olorinab (APD371), an investigational, oral, full agonist of the cannabinoid type 2 receptor (CB2), which aims to treat patients with diseases affecting the stomach and intestine. As Arena’s website states, Olorinab is an investigational drug and is not currently approved for use by any health authority.”
Pfizer joins Teva Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Tilray, and Jazz Pharmaceutical. Jazz acquired GW Pharmaceuticals, “the developer of Epidiolex, the first FDA-authorized CBD medicine for treating children with Lennox-Gastaut and Dravet syndromes”.
Epidiolex generated more than $500 million in sales last year. The problem? Affordability. The cost for Epidiolex oral liquid (100 mg/mL) is around $899 for a supply of 60 milliliters, depending on the pharmacy you visit. If you are prescribed Epidiolex which is considered a Specialty drugs check with your provider for prices and availability.
“Dronabinol is also used to treat severe nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy. Dronabinol is usually given after medicines to control nausea and vomiting have been tried without success”.
Author: Sherri Margolin (Dark Matters)