Pfizer pushes generics worldwide

Pharmaceutical CommercePharmaceutical Commerce - May 2009

Deals illustrate big pharma’s growing reliance on formerly eschewed market sectors

Big Pharma continues to look toward generics and emerging markets to fuel growth. Pfizer Inc. (New York) has entered into licensing agreements with two Indian pharmaceutical companies, simultaneously expanding its generic portfolio and strengthening its position in emerging markets, according to an announcement. The deals cover 60 products in more than 70 countries throughout Asia, Latin America, Africa and the Middle East, and more than 100 products across North America, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Pfizer’s latest deals are with Aurobindo Pharma Ltd. (Hyderabad) and Claris Lifesciences Ltd. (Ahmedabad). The Aurobindo agreement, which adds to deals made between the two last March, focuses on emerging markets. “The expansion of our product portfolio from this deal provides a foundation for us to commercialize branded generics based on patient needs within specific regions,” says Jean-Michel Halfon, president and general manager of Pfizer's Emerging Markets Business Unit, in the announcement.

Under the agreement, Pfizer acquired rights to 55 solid oral dose products and five sterile injectable products for patients in more than 70 countries. The medicines include antibiotics and anti-infectives, and cover such disease areas as cardiovascular and central nervous system disorders.

Pfizer also expanded agreements with Aurobindo in developed markets, adding products in the US and Europe.

In the Claris Lifesciences deal, the focus is the commercialization of sterile injectables after the products are no longer patent protected. The deal covers drugs that have lost market exclusivity in North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand. It gives Pfizer rights to 15 injectables, covering such therapeutic areas including anti-infectives and pain.

The drug giant’s global annual sales of established products are approximately $10 billion, according to the company. It sells about 380 of its own drugs that have gone off patent, and projects an additional $1 billion in annual generics sales by 2012, according to a Wall Street Journal report.

Pfizer, which also has a generics subsidiary—Greenstone LLC of Peapack, NJ—is not the only big pharma company to pursue a generics/emerging-markets strategy: Sandoz (Holzkirchen, Germany), the generics arm of Novartis (Basel, Switzerland), has announced that it will acquire the generic injectables business of Austrian company EBEWE Pharma, which makes cancer drugs. Sandoz says in an announcement that it sees the acquisition as an opportunity to create a strategic generic oncology injectables business unit and global platform for future growth. Similarly, Daiichi Sankyo Co. (Tokyo) acquired a majority stake in Indian generics maker Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., and Sanofi-Aventis SA (Paris) purchased Czech generics maker Zentiva NV.

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