Pfizer sets to lead biosimilars and generics markets

Home/Pharma News | Posted 20/02/2015 post-comment0 Post your comment

Pharma giant Pfizer has announced it is to buy injectable generics specialist and biosimilars maker Hospira for US$17 billion. The products acquired in the deal will be integrated into Pfizer’s generics unit, Global Established Pharmaceutical (GEP).

Meeting V13F14

It is widely thought that the GEP is being prepared for a potential spinoff.  Following which, GEP would become the largest developer of biosimilars and generics by 2018.

‘The addition of Hospira has the potential to fundamentally improve the growth trajectory of the Global Established Pharmaceutical business, vault it into a leadership position in the large and growing off-patent sterile injectables marketplace by combining the specialized talent and capabilities of both companies,’ said Mr John Young, Group President, Pfizer Global Established Pharmaceutical business, adding that it would also ‘advance its goal to be among the world’s most pre-eminent biosimilars providers’.

Following from its failed attempt to buy AstraZeneca in 2014, Pfizer is keen to flag up the immediate revenue boost it will be getting from the generics injectables business and a wider portfolio of biosimilars in the late-stage pipeline and on the European market.

Hospira had an infliximab biosimilar (Inflectra) approved by the European Medicines Agency (EMA) in 2013, a filgrastim biosimilar (Nivestim) approved in 2010 and an epoetin zeta biosimilar (Retacrit) approved in 2007 [1]. The company recently submitted an application to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for an epoetin alfa biosimilar [2]. Hospira is reportedly developing biosimilars for 11 biologicals, targeting an opportunity of US$40 billion.

While Pfizer’s interest is clearly the growth potential, Hospira has several ongoing manufacturing issues and quality concerns at its facilities. Pfizer estimates savings of US$800 million in annual costs by 2018, and observers will watch closely to see if this will involve manufacturing shutdowns or cuts.

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1.   GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Biosimilars approved in Europe []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2015 Feb 20]. Available from: 
2.   GaBI Online - Generics and Biosimilars Initiative. Hospira submits application to FDA for epoetin alfa biosimilar []. Mol, Belgium: Pro Pharma Communications International; [cited 2015 Feb 20]. Available from: 

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Source: Pfizer

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