PHARMACY

Report: Generic drug makers may look to diversify portfolios

BY Alaric DeArment

PHILADELPHIA — An increase in consolidation among generic drug companies could be in the works, according to a new report from Thomson Reuters.

According to the report, “Gaining Market Share in the Generic Drug Industry Through Acquisitions and Partnerships,” generic drug makers face competition, as well as government-mandated price cuts in Europe and such policies as lowest-price tendering. As a result, many could seek deals that would cause them to diversify their portfolios.

“Pricing pressures in established generics markets have forced the industry to look for economies of scale in manufacturing and opportunities in emerging markets,” Thomson Reuters Generics and API intelligence director Kate Kuhrt said. “Companies also are cutting out the middleman and diversifying their product portfolios by moving into niche areas, including follow-on biologics.”

The number of companies that have the follow-on biologics option is limited to those that can afford the high development costs, which can range from $100 million to $200 million, compared with $1 million to $5 million for generic pharmaceuticals. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Sandoz and Hospira already make follow-on biologics for the European market, and Teva has sought to make inroads into the impending U.S. market as well.

Meanwhile, such companies as Mylan and Watson Pharmaceuticals have expressed interest — Watson set itself up to enter the market with its 2009 acquisition of Arrow Group — as have such branded drug makers as Merck.

Despite the projected increase in consolidation, mergers and acquisitions lately have decreased, from $24 billion in 2008 to $6.8 billion in 2009, according to the report.

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PHARMACY

FDA grants Acurox priority review

BY Alaric DeArment

PALATINE, Ill. — The Food and Drug Administration has accepted for review an application for a pain medication designed to thwart drug abusers.

Acura Pharmaceuticals announced Monday the acceptance of King Pharmaceuticals’ application for Acurox (oxycodone hydrochloride). King developed the drug using Acura’s Aversion technology, which is designed to limit or impede the ability to abuse the drug by dissolving or crushing the pills and then injecting them.

The FDA has granted the drug priority-review status and will take action on the application in June.

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Lilly appoints new oncology unit president

BY Allison Cerra

INDIANAPOLIS — Following the exit of its oncology unit leader, drug maker Eli Lilly announced two executive changes.

Sue Mahony, currently SVP human resources and diversity, has been named SVP and president of Lilly Oncology, effective immediately. Mahony will remain a member of Lilly’s executive committee. She succeeds John Johnson, who resigned from his post at Lilly last month to become CEO of Savient Pharmaceuticals.

In related news, Lilly also announced that Steve Fry, VP human resources for the company’s bio-medicines and emerging markets businesses, was promoted to Mahony’s former role. In this new position, Fry will serve as a member of Lilly’s executive committee.

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