Pfizer to buy cancer treatment company Trillium for $2.3bn

24 Aug 2021

Image: © Tobias Arhelger/

Trillium creates biologics designed to enhance the ability of patients’ innate immune system to detect and destroy cancer cells.

Pharma giant Pfizer will acquire Trillium Therapeutics, a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company developing cancer treatment therapies.

According to MarketWatch, the announcement was followed by shares in Trillium skyrocketing by almost 200pc in pre-market trading yesterday (23 August).

Pfizer will acquire all outstanding shares of Trillium not already owned by Pfizer for an implied equity value of $2.26bn, or $18.50 per share, in cash.

The deal announced yesterday will see Pfizer strengthen its oncology portfolio, bringing investigational immuno-therapeutics for haematological malignancies, which are cancers that affect the blood, bone marrow and lymph nodes.

According to the companies, more than 1m people worldwide were diagnosed with a blood cancer in 2020, representing almost 6pc of all cancer diagnoses globally.

Trillium creates biologics designed to enhance the ability of patients’ innate immune system to detect and destroy cancer cells.

Its two lead molecules, TTI-622 and TTI-621, block a signal-regulatory protein that is emerging as a key immune checkpoint in haematological malignancies.

Chris Boshoff, chief development officer of oncology in Pfizer’s global product development, said he is encouraged by the early clinical data for TTI-622 and TTI-621 monotherapy for patients.

“Utilising Pfizer’s leading research and global development capabilities, we plan to accelerate the clinical development of SIRPα fusion proteins as a potential new scientific breakthrough and explore combinations within our own portfolio and with innovative next-generation medicines for hematological malignancies,” he said.

Trillium’s CEO, Dr Jan Skvarka, added that the announcement reflects the company’s contribution to immuno-oncology.

“With Pfizer’s global reach and deep capabilities, we believe our programmes will advance more quickly to the patients we’ve always aspired to serve. We believe this is a good outcome for patients and our shareholders,” he said.

The pharma giant invested $25m in Trillium last year as part of the Pfizer Breakthrough Growth Initiative, which aims to provide funding for scientific research as well as access to Pfizer’s experts to ensure the continuity of clinical programmes that could be of strategic interest for the company.

Pfizer is one of several pharma companies producing Covid-19 vaccines. Earlier this year, the company confirmed that the vaccine will be made in Ireland, creating 75 jobs in the process. This followed the announcement of a multimillion-euro investment in its Irish manufacturing sites in November 2020.

Updated, 9.17am, 24 August 2021: A previous headline on this article stated that the deal value was $2.2m. This was updated to correct the figure to $2.3bn.

Jenny Darmody is the deputy editor of Silicon Republic