May 20, 2009 / 12:31 PM / 11 years ago

Pfizer strikes deals in generics, emerging markets

* Expands Aurobindo partnership to developing countries

* Deal with India-based Claris for injectables

By Lewis Krauskopf

NEW YORK, May 20 (Reuters) - Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) has struck licensing agreements with two Indian-based companies, as the world’s largest drugmaker seeks new avenues of growth in generics and emerging markets.

The deals announced by Pfizer on Wednesday with Aurobindo Pharma Ltd (ARBN.BO) and Claris Lifesciences Ltd substantially increase Pfizer’s offerings in medicines that have lost patent protection in markets around the world. Financial terms of the deals were not released.

Pfizer will gain rights to 60 products to be sold in developing markets, where it is seeking to add $3 billion in annual sales by 2012.

In the developed world, Pfizer is seeking to add $1 billion by 2012 for its established products unit, which includes its off-patent medicines. The deals are expected to add products that will contribute to more than half of that revenue goal.

“The world of off-patent medicines we think is poorly served,” David Simmons, president of Pfizer’s established products unit, said in an interview.

“We’re making a major drive in that direction to increase the portfolio of high quality medicines we bring at affordable prices,” he said.

Pfizer, which posted $48 billion in revenue last year, faces severe sales declines in the coming years from patent expirations to its own products, including its blockbuster Lipitor cholesterol treatment.

The drugmaker struck a $68 billion deal in January to acquire U.S. rival Wyeth WYE.N to help shore up profits. It has also restructured its operating model around separate units — such as for established products, which includes its generic drugs, and emerging markets.

Pharmaceutical companies are increasingly turning their attention to developing nations as they face tougher conditions in more mature markets.

The Aurobindo deal expands on an existing collaboration between the companies that earlier this year launched Pfizer more deeply into selling generic versions of other companies’ medicines in the United States and Europe.

Under the expanded deal, Pfizer gains rights to 55 generic pills and five injectable products in more than 70 emerging market countries in Latin America, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East.

The medicines include anti-infectives, and drugs for cardiovascular disease and central nervous system disorders.

The deal shows how Pfizer is using partnerships to grow its emerging markets presence, said Jean-Michel Halfon, president of Pfizer’s emerging markets unit. Halfon said Pfizer should reach the 2012 revenue goal by maintaining a 4 percent market share in emerging markets.

Pfizer also gains U.S. and European rights to a number of generic pills in the expanded Aurobindo deal, adding to a larger clutch of medicines to which it gained rights in a March deal announced with the Indian firm.

In the Claris agreement, Pfizer acquires rights to 15 injectable generic medicines for pain, infections and other conditions.

Pfizer has prioritized making licensing deals to expand its injectables business, in which it believes there are relatively few rivals and maintains it has a competitive cost structure.

All told, Pfizer now has rights to off-patent versions of 128 non-Pfizer products, including 98 pills and 30 injectable medicines. (Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf, editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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