Pfizer becomes major biosimilar player through $17bn Hospira deal

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

The acquisition of Hospira will massively increase Pfizer's biosimilar pipeline
The acquisition of Hospira will massively increase Pfizer's biosimilar pipeline

Related tags Monoclonal antibodies

Pfizer has propelled itself into a leading position in the biosimilars market through the $17bn acquisition of Hospira.

Twelve months of Pfizer M&A speculation culminated yesterday when the Pharma Giant entered a definitive merger agreement to buy Hospira for $17bn (€15bn).

While the deal greatly expands the company’s sterile injectables portfolio by adding what Group President of the Pharma Business John Young described as the “broadest portfolio in the industry,” ​the acquisition also bolsters the firm’s biosimilar business, adding both marketed and pipeline products.

“Pfizer has best in class monoclonal antibody capabilities in development and Hospira adds significant recombinant proteins, an attractive biosimilar pipeline and broad commercialisation experience in Europe,”​ Young said in a press call.

Furthermore, the deal comes at a key point in the growth and development of the biosimilar segment, especially as the US market is prised to open up – Hospira submitted its first biosimilar for FDA review last month​ – he said.

Young added the combined company would be left with a “robust portfolio of both marketed biosimilars and the development and manufacturing capabilities to capitalise on growth opportunities”​ as around $100bn of patented biologic molecules are set to lose patent protection in next 5-10 years.

Pfizer already had a pipeline of five monoclonal antibody biosimilars in clinical trials, but this deal propels Pfizer’s presence in the sector according to Daniel Galbraith, CSO of BioOutsource, a third-party testing services for the biopharmaceutical industry.

“Hospira are a big player in the biosimilar market, partnering with Celltrion to licence Inflectra/Remsima, which was the first monoclonal Biosimilar in Europe​,”​ he told

“The acquisition seeks to strengthen Pfizer’s generic business with Hospira’s generic’s experience and strong biosimilar pipeline. This would put Pfizer in leading position in the biosimilar market.”

Development with Celltrion

Hospira was developing a total of eight mAbs with Celltrion including several of the same biosimilars Pfizer is developing, and CEO Ian Reed was questioned during the call as to possible contractual conflicts regarding royalty payments.

There is “great complement in the two portfolios and we’re looking forward to sitting down with Celltrion and understanding their core capabilities and how it integrates into our capabilities,”​ he said.

While the Korean drugmaker had no official comment on the acquisition of its development partner, a spokesperson confirmed to this publication the company has yet to have heard from Pfizer.

“We haven’t communicated with Pfizer so far, but the succession of the contract between Celltrion and Hospira will be discussed.”

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