Pfizer pfabricates pfarmaceuticals pfor quite a pfew inpfirmities. The company is the world's largest research-based pharmaceuticals firm. Its top prescription products include cholesterol-lowering Lipitor, pain management drugs Celebrex and Lyrica, pneumonia vaccine Prevnar, and erectile dysfunction treatment Viagra, as well as arthritis drug Enbrel, antibiotic Zyvox, and high-blood-pressure therapy Norvasc. Consumer health products include such leading brands as Advil, Centrum, and Robitussin. Pfizer also sells Promil and Promise baby formula and keeps Pfluffy and Pfido in mind with its animal health products, including Revolution (antiparasitic) and Convenia (anti-infective).
While the US remains Pfizer's largest market, the drugmaker has a strong global presence, with international countries accounting for more than half of sales.
Sales and Marketing
The company markets its pharmaceuticals directly to doctors, hospitals, nurses, managed care organizations, employer groups, and patients themselves. Most of its sales are conducted through wholesale distributors including McKesson and Cardinal Health.
Pfizer had four drugs topping $3 billion in sales in 2011: Lipitor, Lyrica, Prevnar, and Enbrel. One more blockbuster Pfizer drug pulled in over $2 billion in 2011 (Celebrex), and another seven offerings are $1 billion earners including Viagra, Norvasc, and Zyvox, as well as Xalatan (glaucoma), Sutent (cancer), Geodon (schizophrenia), and Premarin (menopause). However, Pfizer's revenues from established blockbusters continue to slide due to one of the pitfalls of the drug game -- patent expiration -- although the company is working furiously to refill its stockpile of popular medicines. During 2011 knockoff versions bit sharply into sales of Effexor and Xalatan, which lost patent protection in 2010 and 2011. Other drug sales that have taken a hit from patent loss include breast cancer drug Aromastin, acid reflux treatment Protonix, and anti-infective Vfend.
Despite its extensive cost-cutting efforts and expansion programs, patent losses and generic competition caused Pfizer's overall revenues to drop slightly (from $67.8 billion to $67.4 billion) in 2011, though the company's net income rose 20% to $10 billion.
Pfizer's largest patent expiration -- that of cash cow Lipitor, the world's top-selling drug that brought Pfizer some $11 billion in annual sales in 2010 -- took effect in the US market on November 30, 2011. A number of generic drugmakers including Ranbaxy and Watson Pharmaceuticals (which has an authorized generic supply agreement with Pfizer) have since started selling versions of Lipitor. As a result, annual sales of Lipitor dropped to $9.6 billion in 2011. Lipitor had already lost its exclusivity in other markets such as Canada, Mexico, and Spain in 2010, but Pfizer is pursuing wider sales of the drug in markets where it still has patent protection. The company is working to further retain some of its Lipitor revenues through direct-to-consumer programs and pharmacy supply agreements. Nonetheless, the company expects sales of Lipitor to drop substantially during 2012.
Pfizer is hoping to launch new blockbusters from its robust pipeline to make up for the off-patent losses and return to revenue growth. The company spends about $9 billion annually on R&D ($8.4 billion was its "adjusted" R&D spend number in 2011) to bolster its pipeline, which includes some 90 projects in clinical stages of development, including drugs for Alzheimer's disease, psoriasis, diabetes, lung cancer, epilepsy, pain, and infections. In early 2010 the Prevnar 13 pneumonia vaccine was approved for marketing by the FDA. In 2011 Pfizer received approval for biotech lung cancer drug Xalkori and pain medication Oxecta, and carcinoma drug Inlyta was approved in early 2012. Later that year it gained FDA approval for leukemia drug Bosulif.
Over the past few years Pfizer has been streamlining operations at its research facilities with the overall goal of reducing its adjusted R&D spend to between $6.5 billion and $7 billion by the end of 2012. As part of this strategy, the company is focusing on late-stage drug candidates in five key therapeutic areas: immunology and inflammation; cardiovascular, metabolic, and endocrine disease; oncology; pain and neurology; and vaccines. At the same time it is culling out the least promising of its early-stage development projects and reducing the overall number of drug candidates. Pfizer has also increasingly relied on partnerships to build its R&D activities, including some team ups with fellow top pharma companies such as Bristol-Myers Squibb (cardiovascular and metabolic candidates), GlaxoSmithKline (HIV), and Bausch & Lomb (ophthalmic ailments).
One focus area of growth for Pfizer is adding more treatments for rare diseases, through acquisitions and other means. The company announced in mid-2010 it would form a rare disease research center in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Pfizer also has formed some partnerships and licensing deals with biotech firms including Zacharon Pharmaceuticals (lysosomal storage disorders) and Protalix BioTherapeutics (for Gaucher's disease drug Elelyso, also approved in 2012). In addition, Pfizer is looking to establish a presence in the generic pharmaceuticals and biosimilars (generic biologics) businesses.
Pfizer's consumer health business has garnered some acquisitive attention in recent years as well. To further expand the segment, it entered an agreement (paying $250 million plus future royalties and milestone payouts) with AstraZeneca to market AstraZeneca's acid reflux drug Nexium as an OTC product after the drug's patent expires; a retail launch of the OTC product is expected in 2014.
To balance its expansion efforts, Pfizer has been conducting extensive cost-cutting programs in recent years to ward off potential losses from patent expirations. In early 2009 Pfizer pushed ahead with a new restructuring initiative aiming to reduce costs by $3 billion by the end of 2010; the company later raised the goal to $4 or $5 billion by the end of 2012 due to the the Wyeth integration programs. Restructuring measures include layoffs, asset divestitures, and the closure of numerous facilities. On top of a 15% workforce reduction resulting from its efforts to integrate the former Wyeth operations into its organization, Pfizer's plans to cut R&D spending (announced in early 2011) will result in additional cuts of up to 5%.
Signaling the start of a new strategy of non-core asset dispositions, in 2012 Pfizer completed the sale of its nutrition business to Nestlé for about $11.8 billion in cash. Pfizer's nutrition brands and products complement Nestlé's infant nutrition business. Pfizer also placed all of its animal health operations into its Zoetis subsidiary, with plans to raise up to $2.2 billion by selling about 17% of Zoetis through an IPO in 2013. In 2011 Pfizer sold its capsule manufacturing unit, Capsugel, to KKR & Co. for $2.4 billion.
Mergers and Acquisitions
Pfizer has made a number of acquisitions to beef up its development-stage and commercialized offerings and ward off losses from patent expiration. Its boldest move came with the 2009 acquisition of pharma rival Wyeth for $68 billion, which expanded its therapeutic offerings in a wide variety of areas.
To expand its prescription drug operations in the high-growth market of pain relief treatments, the company purchased and absorbed King Pharmaceuticals for about $3.6 billion in 2010, adding products including muscle relaxant Skelaxin and pain med Avinza. The deal, completed through a cash-for-stock tender offer, also expanded Pfizer's operations in areas including drug delivery technologies (such as King's emergency allergen device EpiPen), pain therapy research, and animal health products.
Pfizer has also expanded its pharmaceutical, consumer health, and animal health through smaller acquisitions in recent years, including purchases of Alacer, Icagen, and Synbiotics. – less