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Pfizer buys stake in French gene therapy firm Vivet

L-R) Richard A. Gonzalez, chairman and CEO of AbbVie Inc., Pascal Soriot, executive director and CEO of AstraZeneca, Giovanni Caforio, chairman of the board and CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., Jennifer Taubert, executive vice president and worldwide chairman of Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson, Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman and CEO of Merck & Co. Inc., Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, and Olivier Brandicourt, CEO of Sanofi testify in front of the Senate Finance Committee on ‘Drug Pricing in America: A Prescription for Change, Part II’ on February 26, 2019 in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington, DC. Win McNamee | Getty Images

Pfizer Inc said on Wednesday it has acquired a 15 percent stake in Vivet Therapeutics, and has an exclusive option to fully acquire the privately held French company that develops gene therapies for liver disorders.

Under the terms of the deal, Pfizer said it has paid about $51 million upfront and may pay up to $635.8 million in clinical and regulatory milestone payments, inclusive of the payment to exercise the option.

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The partnership comes at a time when gene therapy is gaining momentum, and big drugmakers including Roche AG have begun pushing into the space.

In a joint statement, the companies said Pfizer can exercise its option to acquire all of Vivet following its delivery of certain data from an early-stage clinical trial for its VTX-801, an experimental treatment for Wilson disease.

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