Before April 2022, infection of the monkeypox virus in humans rarely occurred outside African regions where it is endemic. Now, in August 2022, the monkeypox virus has been discovered in more than 15 countries with more than 31,000 cases reported globally this year.1
In early August, the U.S. declared monkeypox a public health emergency.2 These declarations triggered more attention, and in the U.S., more funds and other resources to help fight the virus. There is no known treatment or cure for monkeypox, but most cases clear up on their own.3 Canada has not declared monkeypox a health emergency, but like the U.S., it is making the monkeypox vaccine available across the country.
Bavarian Nordic, a small Danish biotech firms, is the only company in the world with an approved vaccine for monkeypox. Since monkeypox is closely related to smallpox, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have stated that the existing smallpox vaccines are “at least 85% effective in preventing monkeypox.”4
One of the leading providers of the smallpox vaccine is Sanofi SA, a French multinational pharmaceutical company that is held by the fund. It acquired Acambis back in 2008 for $546 million. Through the deal, Sanofi acquired the Acambis’ smallpox vaccine, which has a supply agreement with the U.S. government.5
Johnson & Johnson and Drug Sales
Johnson & Johnson said that sales of its cancer drug Darzalex and Chron’s disease drug Stelara helped it beat second quarter earnings projections. Total sales increased about three percent to $24.0 billion, with nearly half of those sales coming from outside the U.S.6
The company’s COVID-19 vaccine has experienced slowing demand but still managed to bring in $544 million in sales during the quarter. Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine was named one of Time’s best inventions of 2021.7
Zoetis and Animal Healthcare
Zoetis Inc. is an animal healthcare company that discovers, develops, manufactures, and commercializes medicines, vaccines, and diagnostic products in the United States and internationally. In 2021, the Fortune 500 company generated $7.8 billion in sales.8
Pet healthcare is a lucrative industry with U.S. pet owners spending $103.6 billion on their pets in 2020. Of that, 30% goes toward veterinary care products. Moreover, the global animal genetic testing market was valued at $990 million in 2020 and is expected to continue to experience strong growth.9
To that end, Zoetis recently completed the acquisition of Basepaws, a company that sells at-home DNA testing kits for cats. The acquisition advances Zoetis’ portfolio in the precision animal health space and will shape its pipeline and future targets.10
Pfizer and More Acquisitions
Pfizer Inc. continues to invest some of the cash it generated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The company recently announced it will buy Global Blood Therapeutics for around $5.4 billion. The acquisition will boost its research in rare hematology. Global Blood Therapeutics makes Oxybryta tablets for treating sickle cell disease.11
The drugmaker has announced deals totaling nearly $19 billion since late 2021. In May, it announced plans to acquire Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holdings for $11.6 billion and it spent $6.7 billion to acquire Arena Pharmaceuticals.12, 13
The company said it expects $25 billion in sales to come from new business developments by 2030.14
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- Thornhill, J.P., et al., “Monkeypox Virus Infection in Humans across 16 Countries – April-June 2022,” The New England Journal of Medicine, July 21, 2022; https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa2207323.
- Goodman, B., “Global experts race to understand rare cases when rare cases when monkeypox leads to death,” CNN, August 12, 2022; https://www.cnn.com/2022/08/12/health/monkeypox-deaths-research/index.html.
- “WHO Director-General declares the ongoing monkeypox outbreak a Public Health Emergency of International Concern,” World Health Organization, July 23, 2022; https://www.who.int/europe/news/item/23-07-2022-who-director-general-declares-the-ongoing-monkeypox-outbreak-a-public-health-event-of-international-concern.
- “Monkeypox and Smallpox Vaccine Guidance,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,” June 2, 2022; https://www.cdc.gov/poxvirus/monkeypox/clinicians/smallpox-vaccine.html.
- “Sanofi to acquire Acambis for $546 million,” Fierce Biotech, July 25, 2008; https://www.fiercebiotech.com/biotech/sanofi-to-acquire-acambis-for-546m.
- “Johnson &Johnson Reports Q2 2022 Results,” Johnson & Johnson, July 19, 2022; https://johnsonandjohnson.gcs-web.com/static-files/d02be570-de1d-4e5f-bdd6-51574d58008b.
- “Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 Vaccine Named One of Time’s Best Inventions of 2021,” Johnson & Johnson, November 11, 2021; https://www.jnj.com/latest-news/johnson-johnson-covid-19-vaccine-makes-2021-times-best-inventions-list.
- “Zoetis Reports Fourth Quarter and Full year 2021 Results,” Zoetia Inc., February 15, 2022; https://investor.zoetis.com/news/news-details/2022/Zoetis-Reports-Fourth-Quarter-and-Full-Year-2021-Results/default.aspx.
- Bennett, N., Torres, S., Gray, P., “Exploratory content analysis of direct-to-consumer pet genomics: What is being marketed and what are consumers saying?,” PLOS, January 7, 2022; https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0261694.
- “Zoetis Completes Acquisition of Basepaws, an Innovative Leader in Petcare Genetics, to Strengthen its Portfolio of Precision Animal Health Solutions,” Zoetis Inc., June 6, 2022; https://investor.zoetis.com/news/news-details/2022/Zoetis-Completes-Acquisition-of-Basepaws-an-Innovative-Leader-in-Petcare-Genetics-to-Strengthen-its-Portfolio-of-Precision-Animal-Health-Solutions/default.aspx.
- Rockoff, J., “Pfizer Agrees to $5.4 Billion deal for Global Blood Therapeutics,” The Wall Street Journal, August 8, 2022; https://www.wsj.com/articles/pfizer-reaches-5-4-billion-deal-for-global-blood-therapeutics-11659954601.
- “Pfizer To Acquire Biohaven Pharmaceuticals,” Biohaven Pharmaceutical Holdings Company Ltd., May 10, 2022; https://www.biohavenpharma.com/investors/news-events/press-releases/05-10-2022.
- “Pfizer Completes Acquisition of Arena Pharmaceuticals,” Pfizer Inc., March 11, 2022; https://www.pfizer.com/news/press-release/press-release-detail/pfizer-completes-acquisition-arena-pharmaceuticals.
- Merrill, J., “Pfizer Shopping For Deals That Will Add $25bn To 2030 Revenues,” Script, February 9, 2022; https://scrip.pharmaintelligence.informa.com/SC145863/Pfizer-Shopping-For-Deals-That-Will-Add-$25bn-To-2030-Revenues.