Ranbaxy to Shed as Many as 400 Middle and Senior Management Jobs

Posted in BioBusiness

The UK’s Economic Times reported  today that the troubled Indian generic drug manufacturer Ranbaxy may shed as many as 400 jobs from its various divisions. Most of the persons receiving pink slips will be senior and middle management who are likely losing their jobs because of ongoing serious drug manufacturing problems that have plagued the company for over three years.  The drug maker employs about 14, 600 people in 43 countries.

While the job cuts do not represent a significant percentage of Ranbaxy’s workforce, Daiichi Sankyo which owns the company, is likely eliminating members of the management team that have been responsible for the company’s ongoing manufacturing problems. According to the Economic Times article

“On Thursday, some senior executives from the finance department at Ranbaxy were asked to leave. On Friday, some senior executives from the Research & Development wing were given marching orders,” an employee familiar with the job cuts told ET. Another executive said some officials from the API(active pharma ingredient) division have also been handed pink slips.

This past May, Ranbaxy paid the US Department of Justice $500 million to settle criminal and civil charges to resolve the manufacturing problems that prompted the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to ban the sale of dozens of drugs manufactured by the company.  More recently, FDA inspectors issued an unsatisfactory inspection report for one of the company’s manufacturing plants in India.

Ranbaxy is one of the world’s leading generic drug manufactures and the company’s ongoing manufacturing problems have certainly hurt Daiichi Sankyo’s image. Also, it has led some analyst to question whether or not Daiichi Sankyo ought to have purchased the troubled generic manufacturer for $4.6 billion in 2008.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Continues Its Westward Expansion

Posted in BioBusiness

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company, Japan’s largest pharmaceutical company, yesterday announced its intention to purchase the Swiss drug maker Nycomed for 8 to 10 billion euros ($11.4-14 billion). While the deal is not certain to close, it signals Takeda’s intention to purchase its way into the US and European markets.

Takeda acquired Cambridge, MA-based Millennium Pharmaceuticals in 2008 for $8.8 billion, the largest foreign acquisition ever by a Japanese company. The Millennium acquisition was intended to bolster Takeda’s competencies in genomics and oncology drug discovery. If Takeda is successful in its bid, Nycomed would enhance the company’s standing in treatments for gastric, respiratory and inflammatory disorders. Nycomed has operations in roughly 70 countries, with Europe representing 50 percent of the company’s sale and emerging markets 38 percent.

Takeda’s chief executive officer Yasuchika Hasegawa has pursued an aggressive M&A strategy since assuming control of the company in 2003. Historically, Japanese drugmakers intentionally remained small and were content doing business in local and other Asian markets. However, Hasegawa has changed the “game” and has forced some of Takeda’s rivals to emulate his global strategy. To that end, in recent years Daiichi Sankyo Company has purchased Plexxikon and Ranbaxy and Astellas acquired OSI pharmaceuticals as part of a westward expansion.

While Takeda remains Japan’s largest pharmaceutical company, net profit slumped 17 percent last year and the company is losing patent protection for its largest selling drugs, Prevacid (ulcers) and Actos (diabetes). Like Takeda, Nycomed sales are being hit by the loss of patent protection for its largest selling drug Protonix (antacid). Worldwide sales of the drug plummeted by almost 28 percent. Therefore, it would appear that Takeda’s pursuit of Nycomed is based more on its pipeline rather than currently marketed products.

Stay tuned for late-breaking news on the deal!

Until next time,

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!


Big Pharma is Betting on Emerging Markets to Lift Profits

Posted in BioBusiness

It is no secret that growth of the pharmaceutical industry has slowed to single digits in the past five years or more. In fact, many experts don’t expect there to be double digit growth in this sector for a long time. Instead, future robust growth of the pharmaceutical industry is expected to take place in emerging markets including India, China, Brazil, South Africa and others. This is because the economies of these countries are booming and the middle class in these nations continues to rapidly grow. 

While branded prescriptions drugs once dominated Western markets, it is likely that generics or branded generic products will be the major players in emerging markets. Because of this, big pharma companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Daiichi Sankyo and most recently Abbott Laboratories have either purchased or crafted large marketing deals with smaller regional drug manufacturers.

Daiichi Sankyo paid $4.0 billion in 2008 for a major share of India’s Ranbaxy Laboratories and GlaxoSmithKline earlier this year acquired exclusive rights to over 100 products produced by Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, another Indian drug maker with a broad reach in emerging markets.

Today, Abbott Laboratories announced that it would purchase the healthcare business of Piramal Healthcare Ltd, one of India’s largest purveyors of branded generics for $3.72 billion. When the deal closes, Abbott will inherit the rights to about 350 brands and trademarks and a manufacturing plant in northern India. Also, Piramal agreed to a six year non-compete agreement for branded generics. The remaining parts of Piramal include a custom manufacturing business, over-the-counter products, vitamins, diagnostic devices and Piramal Life Sciences a drug discovery company.

The company, which has India’s largest sales force, would become a subsidiary of Abbott Laboratories and employ about 7,500 workers. Last week, Abbott said it would license at least 24 products from Zydus Cadila to sell in emerging markets. Analysts estimate that emerging markets account for 20 percent of Abbott’s business. The Piramal and Zydus Cadila deals suggest that Abbott maybe the company to reckon with in emerging markets in India and elsewhere.

 Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!!


Ranbaxy to Hire 1,500 Marketing and Sales Employees to Boldly Go Where No Indian Pharmaceutical Company Has Gone Before

Posted in BioBusiness

One economic downturn and it seems as though the pharmaceutical world has been turned upside down! Who would have thought a few years ago that emerging pharmaceutical markets in India and Asia will outpace the US and Western European markets in the very near future (I did but nobody listens to me). To that end, Ranbaxy Laboratories will hire nearly 1,500 marketing executives, expanding its sales team by at least 50%, to spur sales and regain its rank as India’s top drug maker. The recruitment push is among the biggest by an Indian drug maker in recent years.  Ironically, pharma sales reps are still being regularly layed off in the US.

The company plans to hire mostly medical representatives, regional managers and area managers by July to boost sales in the rural markets.  According to a Ranbaxy hiring manager “Ranbaxy is looking at new rural markets and deeper penetration in interior markets.”

Ranbaxy is owned by Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo which employs over 12,000 people in 46 countries.

Industry analysts suggest that Ranbaxy’s aggressive hiring push is a sign that the company is focusing on internal markets which are poised for exponential growth in the next few years. Also, Ranbaxy has had its share of legal and regulatory disputes over patents and generics drugs in the US and Western Europe signaling that the company may be pursuing those markets less aggressively than in the past.

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!!!


Pfizer and Ranbaxy Settle Lipitor Patent Dispute

Posted in Career Advice

As many of you may know, Ranbaxy was involved in a bitter patent dispute with Pfizer over Lipitor, Pfizer’s blockbuster multibillion, dollar anti LDL-cholesterol drug. Ranbaxy was challenging the validity of Pfizer’s intellectual property estate for Lipitor which would have extended patent protection for the drug until 2013 or longer. The patent dispute began after Ranbaxy filled an ANDA with the US Food and Drug Administration to sell generic Lipitor after uncontested Lipitor patents expire in early 2010.

Conventional wisdom suggested that Pfizer would ultimately lose the patent dispute and that Ranbaxy would be able to immediately flood the market with a much cheaper generic version of Lipitor. This would have an enormous negative impact on Pfizer’s financial stability and its future (Lipitor had $12.8 billion in sales in 2007). Nevertheless, untilDaiicho-Sankyo announced its intention to acquire Ranbaxy last week, Pfizer was willing to gamble and run the risk of losing the lawsuit. Apparently, Ranbaxy impending sale was enough of an impetus for Pfizer to settle the patent dispute which has grown increasingly acrimonious over the past year or so.

According to agreement (which needs to be approved by the US Federal Trade Commission), Pfizer was able to get Ranbaxy  to agree to delay the release of generic Lipitor until November 2011 — up to 20 months later than many analysts had been expecting (some insiders believed that generic Lipitor could reach the market as early as March 2010). Further, as part of the agreement, Pfizer will allow Ranbaxy to sell its version of Lipitor in Australia, Canada, Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden two to four months before Liptor’s patents expire. This is likely the sweet part of the deal for Ranbaxy because all of the above mentioned markets are top sellers for anti-cholesterol drugs. Finally, because Ranbaxy was the first to file an ANDA for generic Lipitor with the FDA, it will get 6 months of market exclusivity guaranteed (in the Hatch Waxman Act) to a generic manufacturer that is first to file for generic production of a brand name drug nearing patent expiry.   However, after quickly perusing the terms of the deal, I think that it more closely resembles an authorized generics deal rather than a “true” competitive generics launch.

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Word on the Street: Pfizer May Counteroffer for Ranbaxy

Posted in BioJobBuzz

Rumor has it that Pfizer may offer a counteroffer to acquire India-based generics manufacturer Ranbaxy. As you may recall, Japan’s Daiichi Sankyo agreed earlier in the week to pay about $4.6 billion for a controlling interest in Ranbaxy. According to reports many analysts expect Pfizer to attempt to queer to the Daiichi-Ranbaxy deal because “it is battling Ranbaxy in about 18 countries on patent rights of Lipitor, the largest selling cholesterol drug in the world. Lipitor has annual sales of $13 billion. In most countries the patent on the drug will expire starting 2011.”  Ranbaxy has won favorable court decisions on Lipitor in many countries including in the US, the largest drug market in the world, which accounts for 28 per cent of the global generic market estimated at $72 billion.

I tend to agree with the pundits. Pfizer has a lousy pipeline and its recent clinical trial record is horrendous. Consequently, the company must hang on (as long as possible and at any cost) to its blockbuster brands to avoid financial ruin.

Stay tuned for late-breaking news and updates!

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!

Japan's Daiichi Sankyo Co Buy's Generic Manufacturer Ranbaxy

Posted in BioJobBuzz

Daiichi Sankyo will buy a controlling interest (50.1%) of Ranbaxy, India’s third largest generic manufacturer.  Daiichi will pay as much as $4.6 billion for the opportunity.

The deal will put Daiichi Sankyo into ninth place in the $120 billion generic-drug market behind leaders Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. and Novartis AG’s Sandoz unit. According to the report “Daiichi Sankyo is mimicking strategies pursued by Novartis and Johnson & Johnson to weather turbulence in the branded-drug industry by diversifying into other markets. The acquisition also gives the Japanese company more reach in emerging regions including India, China and Eastern Europe. “

I think after this deal, that other pharmaceutical companies may consider buying profitable generics businesses. I am not sure why it has taken innovator companies so long to realize that it is much easier to join (buy??) rather than compete with generic manufacturers. It just seems so obvious to me—and I don’t even have an MBA!  Maybe there is some truth to the age-old aphorism “missing the forest for the trees.”

Until next time…

Good Luck and Good Job Hunting!!!!!

Who's Who in the Biosimilar Space?

Posted in Career Advice

In 2004, the European Commission adopted a new directive that paved the way for legal approval of biosimilars in the European Union (EU). To date, five (5) biosimilars have garnered marketing approval in the EU. Of the five, two are generic versions of recombinant growth hormone (rHGH)–Omnitrope (Sandoz) and Valtropin (Biopartners). The remaining three are “knock off” versions of erythropoietin alpha–Binocrit (Sandoz), Epoetin alpha Hexal (Hexal) and Abseamed (Medice Arneimittel Putter).

There is no doubt, at this point, that Europe is leading the way in the biosimilar space. However, it is important to point out that a variety of biosimilars, developed by Indian generic manufacturers and others, are already being sold in less- regulated Asian markets (see Table 1). Unfortunately, political issues and the fierce struggle between innovator

Table 1. Biosimilar Manufacturers and Their Products


Launched Biosimilars

In the Pipeline

Barr                                                          (www.barr.com)

EPO scheduled for launch in Eastern Europe

G-CSF (Filgastrim), Insulin, and HGH

Biocon                                          (www.bioconinc.com)

Insugen (Insulin in India and China), Erypro (EPO) G-CSF, Nimotruzmab, BIOMAb EGFR (cancer)

Insulin, glargine and HGH

Biopartners                             (www.biopartners.ch)

Valtropin (rHGH)

Alpheon (INF-α) and EPO

Cipla                                                   (www.cipla.com)


Autoimmune, cancer and cardiovascular

Dr. Reddy’s Labs                       (www.drreddys.com)

G-CSF (Filgastrim)

Nine (9) development programs

Glenmark                  (www.glenmarkpharma.com)


GBR 500 (mAb for MS), GBR600 (antithrombotic) and mAbs for adhesion molecular inhibitors

Intas Biopharma (www.intasbiopharma.com)

Neukine (G-CSF), Erykine (EPO) and Intalfa (INF-alpha2b)

Six (6) development programs

Prolong Pharmaceuticals (www.prolongpharmaceuticals.com)


PEG-EPO and other PEGylated proteins



Nugraf (Filgrastim), Macrogen (Molgramostim from Zenotech)

mAbs in oncology and neurology



Omnitrope (HGH), Binocrit (EPO)

Six (6) development programs including G-CSF (Filgrastim)

Shanta Biotechnics                              (www.shantabio.com)

Shaferon (INF-alpha2b, Shankinase (streptokinase) and Shanpoietin (EPO)

mAbs and PEGylated therapeutic proteins

Stada                                               (www.stada.de)

EPO-Zeta (approved)


Teva                                           (www.tevapharma.com)

G-CSF (Filagstrim),Teva-Tropin (HGH), INF-alpha2b

Insulin, EPO and interleukins

Wockhardt                             (www.wockhardt.com)

Wepo (EPO), Wosulin (insulin) INF-alpha2b, G-CSF

Insulin Glargine

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