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Pfizer Acquires Gene Therapy Firm Bamboo for $150 Million

  • Pharmaceutical giant gains technology, drugs in development
  • Bamboo shareholders may get up to $495 million in milestones

Pfizer Inc. said Monday that it acquired Bamboo Therapeutics Inc., a biotechnology firm developing gene therapies, for $150 million and potential milestone payments in a deal to expand the drug giant’s presence in the experimental field.

Closely held Bamboo is developing treatments for neuromuscular conditions and central nervous system disorders. Pfizer said in a statement that it will take over the company’s treatments in development, which haven’t yet been tested in people, as well as Bamboo’s manufacturing facility. Bamboo’s most advanced drug, for a rare nerve-cell disorder called giant axonal neuropathy, is enrolling patients for its first human trial. It is also working on a treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare and deadly muscle disease.

Gene therapy -- a growing and experimental technology that’s backers hope can be effective after only one treatment -- treats diseases caused by a genetic mutation by giving the patient a working copy of a missing or...