NEW YORK Pfizer Inc said on Wednesday it has struck a collaboration deal with India's Strides Arcolab Ltd that will significantly expand the generics business of the world's largest drugmaker.
The deal, in which the terms were not disclosed, is expected to deliver 40 off-patent products -- primarily injectable cancer medicines -- to healthcare providers and patients in the United States, the companies said.
The first products to be commercialized under the collaboration are expected to be launched this year, pending U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval, the companies said.
Pfizer will sell the off-patent sterile injectable and oral medicines covered by the deal in the United States through its Established Products unit -- its name for its generics business.
Pfizer has said it intends to become a major player in the injectables market with a goal to be among the world's top five in five years.
"And we don't plan on stopping with the top five," David Simmons, president of Pfizer's Established Products unit, said in a telephone interview.
"Strides is a powerhouse in the sterile injectables area," Simmons said, adding that Pfizer looked at more than 100 companies before settling on the deal with Strides.
He said the U.S. market for off-patent injectable medicines is $10.9 billion, but declined to speculate on just how much of that market Pfizer could eventually grab.
This deal marks the latest move by Pfizer to expand its generics business through tie-ups with Indian companies.
Last May Pfizer signed licensing deals with India-based Aurobindo Pharma Ltd and Claris Lifesciences Ltd that increased its generics portfolio by 60 products and boosted its business in emerging markets.
"This agreement (with Strides) brings the total number of products in-licensed by our Established Products business unit to more than 200," Simmons said in a statement.
Including Pfizer's own vast portfolio of medicines, the Established Products unit will have about 600 off-patent products, Simmons said.
Under the new deal, finished dosage from products will be licensed and supplied by Strides and Onco Laboratories Ltd and Onco Therapies Ltd -- joint ventures between Strides and Aspen Pharmacare Holdings Ltd, Pfizer and Strides said.
Bangalore-based Strides has 14 manufacturing plants in six countries.
Although the current deal involves Pfizer sales only in the United States, it could eventually be expanded to include sales in others countries and additional products, Simmons said.
"We view this as a beginning of a partnership," Simmons said. "We look at Strides as a strong anchor point."
(Reporting by Bill Berkrot; Editing Bernard Orr)