New York: Drug maker Pfizer Inc. agreed to a licensing deal with Indian generic drug maker Aurobindo Pharma Ltd, a move that may add at least $200 million (Rs1,034 crore) in annual sales to the world’s largest maker of medicines and bolster its stake in the generics market.
Pfizer is buying the rights from Hyderabad-based Aurobindo to sell 75 generic drugs as pills and 12 as injectables in the US and Europe, Pfizer said in a statement on Tuesday. The agreement is the first of the partnerships Pfizer is seeking with generic drug makers to add $1 billion in revenue over four years from selling copycat medicines.
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. Pfizer has a 17-person generic unit called Greenstone Ltd that sells copies of the company’s medicines. The deal with Aurobindo is the first time Pfizer will sell medicines discovered by other companies.
“By 2013, we want to be generating an additional billion (dollars) in sales through portfolio expansion activities and this deal is a major step in that direction,” said David Simmons, president of Pfizer’s established products unit, in a phone interview. “For Pfizer, we can stand up and say we are ensuring the same quality with a generic medicine as we do for a branded one.”
Pfizer is struggling to find ways to offset the $10 billion it expects to begin losing to generic copies of its top-selling cholesterol pill Lipitor when the drug loses patent protection in 2011. The drug maker’s research operations haven’t produced enough new medicines to replace those losses.
Pfizer chief executive Jeffrey Kindler had said in an interview last month that the firm is trying to create smaller, more diversified business units similar to those at Johnson and Johnson or Abbott Laboratories. The only other large drug maker to have a significant generic business is Novartis AG.
Aurobindo has US Food and Drug Administration approval to sell 45 products in the US, according to its website. It has $500 million in sales, the company said.