Generic pharmaceutical company Mylan will merge with Pfizer’s off-patent medicines unit Upjohn. The new firm will be based in the US, with anticipated revenues of $19–20 billion (£15–16 billion) in 2020.
The intention is to combine Pfizer’s distribution network in China and other emerging markets with Mylan’s existing products in developed markets and future generics, but the deal does not include Pfizer’s biosimilars.
‘Upjohn has off-patent drugs like Viagra (sildenafil), Lipitor (atorvastatin) and Lyrica (pregabalin), for which Mylan has filed generic applications. This makes me wonder what happens when there is overlap between Mylan’s generics and the branded Pfizer products,’ says Josh Whitehill, a lawyer specialising in pharmaceutical and biotechnology patent law at Goodwin Procter in New York, US. ‘Do they [sell them off], or does the new company just stop selling them?’ he asks.
‘It will be interesting to see if this starts a trend of large branded drug companies selling off or spinning off their off-patent assets,’ Whitehill says. Rather than a consolidation, the deal represents a shift of Upjohn into Mylan, he states. ‘I don’t see this as disrupting the status quo, it just really is giving Mylan more legs to reach places where it couldn’t before.’