Posts tagged ‘Pfizer’


Pfizer to invest $350 million in China biotech hub, first in Asia | Reuters

Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) will invest $350 million to build a biotech center in China, the latest in a series of moves by pharma industry giants to set up shop in the world’s no. 2 drugs market with the aim of securing faster approvals for their products.

The facility in eastern Hangzhou region – Pfizer’s first biotech center in Asia – is expected to be completed by 2018, the firm said in a statement on Tuesday.

Global “Big Pharma” is increasingly looking for smart ways to tap China’s healthcare market, estimated by consultancy IMS Health to be worth around $185 billion by 2018. From investing in China facilities to acquisitions, licensing deals and joint ventures, the aim is to seek an edge in dealings with domestic regulators and government.

John Young, group president for Pfizer’s essential health division, said in the statement that the Hangzhou facility should “help support China’s aim to increase the complexity and value of its manufacturing sector by 2025”.

Pfizer said it would “work closely” with local regulators to bring the drugs “to market as soon as possible”. The center will mostly on biologic drugs – made from living micro-organisms rather than chemically synthesized – and lower-cost ‘biosimilars’, of generic versions of biologics.

Pharmaceutical executives have long complained about the slow process of getting drugs to market in China, while others have run up against regulatory roadblocks. Pfizer had to close its vaccine business in the country last year after a license for its top-selling vaccine Prevenar was not renewed.

China’s overall healthcare spending is set to hit $1.3 trillion by 2020, but drug market growth has slowed to a low single-digit percentage pace from over 20 percent just four years ago as branded generics have lost their shine and Beijing has looked to drive down prices to keep a lid on costs.

Source: Pfizer to invest $350 million in China biotech hub, first in Asia | Reuters


Big Pharma pushes for U.S. action against India over patent worries | Reuters

An Indian government committee is reviewing patented drugs of foreign firms to see if so-called compulsory licenses, which in effect break exclusivity rights, can be issued for some of them to bring down costs, two senior government officials told Reuters.

A private security guard looks out from a window of the head office of Natco in the southern Indian city of Hyderabad March 13, 2012. REUTERS/Krishnendu Halder

The drugs that are part of the review process are used for treating cancer, diabetes, hepatitis and HIV, said the sources, declining to give details. No timeline has been given for completion of the review process.

Emerging markets, from South Africa to China and India, are battling to bring down healthcare costs and boost access to drugs to treat diseases such as cancer, HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.

Western drugmakers, including Pfizer Inc, Novartis AG, Roche Holding AG and Sanofi SA, covet a bigger share of the fast-growing drugs market in India.

But they have been frustrated by a series of decisions on patents and pricing, as part of New Delhi’s push to increase access to life-saving treatments where only 15 percent of 1.2 billion people are covered by health insurance.

via Big Pharma pushes for U.S. action against India over patent worries | Reuters.

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* India: Patents and precedents

FT: “Pharmaceutical companies fear that the battle raging in India over patents will inspire other countries to change their laws

Meena, a 45-year-old New Delhi widow with a 10-year-old son, was diagnosed with potentially fatal blood cancer in 2010. To control it, her doctors prescribed an Indian*- made generic version of Novartis’ leukaemia drug.

But her body stopped responding to it and Meena was advised to switch to a more expensive drug, Sprycel, a second-line cancer drug made by Bristol-Myers Squibb. Sprycel costs Rs160,000 ($2,900) per month, far out of reach for a woman living on her late husband’s Rs17,000 monthly pension.

A solution appeared to be at hand last May when Natco, an Indian generic drugs company, started selling its own version of Sprycel for Rs9,000 a month. A charity helped Meena to buy it.

But Meena’s ability to obtain potentially lifesaving medicine became tied up in a dispute pitting the interests of the world’s largest drugmakers – who spend $70bn annually developing drugs – and generic manufacturers in the developing world.

BMS, the US drugs group with revenues of $17.6bn in 2012, accused Natco of patent infringement, prompting the India’s Supreme Court to order the Indian drugmaker to stop making the medicine until a final verdict was reached. While some patients stocked up before the generic disappeared, Meena could only afford a few bottles.

The BMS “access programme” for the poor offered to sell her Sprycel for Rs15,000 per month – a big discount on the market price but still more than she can afford. Friends have chipped in to buy her a month’s supply but she is distraught about the future. “I don’t see a ray of hope,” she says. “Even if I use all my resources, I can only afford it for two months. It’s not sustainable.”

It is this struggle of educated, middle-class patients to obtain cutting-edge medicine that has led to a showdown between India and western pharmaceutical companies over the patents and prices of lifesaving drugs.

Western drugmakers fear India will inspire other emerging markets to challenge their patents. They have accused India of trampling on their intellectual property rights after a series of decisions overriding, revoking or refusing patents on cancer and hepatitis C drugs from Bayer, Pfizer, Roche and Novartis. The companies are also irate that New Delhi is considering compulsory licenses for another three patented cancer drugs, including Sprycel, and Roche’s breast cancer drug Hercepterin.

At a recent US Congressional hearing, Roy Waldron, Pfizer’s chief intellectual property officer, complained that New Delhi had “routinely flouted trade rules to bolster the Indian generics industry”.

Indian generics executives and patients activists say the reality is more nuanced. They argue that India’s courts are trying to balance drug companies’ intellectual property rights against the need for affordable medicine for 1.2bn Indians. India’s public healthcare system has virtually collapsed, with Indians paying 60 per cent of their healthcare costs from their own pockets.

This stand-off is taking place within the framework of a new patent law crafted to preserve India’s manoeuvring room to keep medicines affordable at home – and protect its exports of drugs abroad.

“The portrayal is that India doesn’t respect intellectual property rights but the reality is that it is balanced,” says Leena Menghaney, a lawyer with Médecins Sans Frontières, the humanitarian organisation. “The decisions that go in favour of the MNCs [multinational corporations] never get reported and decisions against them always hit the headlines.”

D.G. Shah, secretary-general of the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance, which represents India’s biggest generics firms, rejects suggestions of protectionism for domestic companies.

via India: Patents and precedents –


* Pfizer Seeks Alliances in China

WSJ: “New York-based Pfizer Inc.,  the world’s largest drug company, plans to forge more alliances in China as pharmaceutical companies combat shrinking margins in one of the world’s fastest-growing health-care markets.


“We’re open for collaboration,” said Wu Xiaobing, Pfizer’s country manager for China, noting that he is looking for partnerships in the research, manufacturing and marketing of drugs. “If we were alone, it would take such a long time to make our drugs accessible to patients.”

Foreign drug makers are increasingly turning to local partners to expand their access in China, among Asia’s most promising pharmaceutical markets. They are also facing a big wave of patent expirations globally.

Pfizer already has a joint venture in the world’s second-largest economy with Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceuticals to develop generic drugs, which dominate China’s pharmaceutical sales. Pfizer also has a minority investment in Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Holding Co.,one of China’s largest drug distributors, and its animal health division has a JV with China’s Jilin Guoyuan Animal Health Co. for animal vaccines.

Meanwhile, Merck & Co , the world’s second-largest drug company, recently formed a joint venture with China’s Simcere Pharmaceutical Group  to develop and sell drugs.

“You can expect to see more momentum going forward,” said Jin Wang, a Shanghai-based partner at McKinsey & Co. “Both multinationals and locals are excited by the growth potential in this market, and they are all facing limitations in terms of their portfolio and capabilities, so they’re teaming up.”

via Pfizer Seeks Alliances in China –

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