Mumbai: Pfizer Inc. has entered into an agreement with Bangalore-based generic drug maker Strides Arcolab Ltd to sell its cancer treatments in the US, a move that would further bolster the stake of the world’s largest medicine company in the generics market.
Pfizer last year signed licensing deals with two Indian firms—Aurobindo Pharma Ltd and Claris Lifesciences Ltd—which increased its generics portfolio by 60 products and boosted its business in emerging markets.
The deal with Strides, the terms of which were not disclosed, is expected to deliver 40 off-patent products—primarily injectable cancer medicines—to healthcare providers and patients in the US, the companies said.
The first products to be commercialized under the collaboration are expected to be launched this year, pending US Food and Drug Administration approval, the firms said.
Pfizer will sell the off-patent sterile injectable and oral medicines covered by the deal in the US through its established products unit—its name for its generics business.
The move is part of Pfizer’s strategy to lessen its dependence on brand-name prescription medicines by increasing sales in over-the-counter pills, veterinary products and medicines that have lost patent protection.
“The collaboration with Strides brings the total number of products in-licensed by our established products business unit to more than 200—resulting in a total portfolio of about 600 products,” David Simmons, president and general manager of Pfizer’s established products business unit, said in a statement on Thursday.
“Partnering with Pfizer enhances our ability to reach a larger base of customers and patients in need of quality treatment options,” said Arun Kumar, founder and managing director of Strides.
The share price of Strides rose 8.2% to Rs254 on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Thursday, a day when the benchmark Sensex index closed 0.48% lower at 17,615 points.
“Investors see a very sustainable value growth in Strides after a long time since Stride’s capabilities have been identified by a large player such as Pfizer, which is serious about off-patent drug business...,” said Ranjit Kapadia, vice-president, institutional research, HDFC Securities Ltd.
It is also a better deal for Pfizer, says another sector analyst.
“Since Strides is one of the very few generic manufacturers in this speciality injectable area, Pfizer has struck a good deal ahead of the competitors to tap the low cost anti-cancer segment in the international market,” said the analyst working with a foreign brokerage in Mumbai. He spoke on condition of anonymity.
Two global pharmaceutical research reports prepared by consultancy firms PriceWaterHouseCoopers and Ernst and Young have estimated strong growth in low-cost drug markets owing to lower number of new medicines from top drug makers, as well as new business strategies of these companies to sustain revenue growth.
The US drug maker’s Indian subsidiary Pfizer Ltd started a strong generic push in the local market early last year. The Indian company is planning to launch at least 100 products in the low-cost segment targeting semi-urban and rural markets.
Reuters and Bloomberg contributed to this story.