Schwarz: The Omeprazole Opportunity
Germany's Schwarz has invested heavily in its transition from a marketing organization into a development-based firm. Higher-than expected windfall revenues from generic omeprazole increase its chances of a successful transformation.
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Merck KGAA surprised observers when it announced the €10.6 billion takeover of Europe's biggest biotech, Serono. There was more consolidation to come. That same day, the Danish pharmaceutical group Nycomed Group said it would acquire Altana Pharma for about €4.5 billion in cash. Only a couple days later, UCB SA entered the fray with the acquisition of Schwarz Pharma AG for €4.2 billion in cash and stock. Can these bulked up companies present serious competition for Big Pharma on the licensing front?
Pfizer Inc.'s acquisition of worldwide rights to Schwarz's registration-stage incontinence product fesoterodine for $210 million plus royalties is the most recent milestone in the German company's successful integration of drug development to its legacy marketing organization-and one that nearly guarantees it a substantial revenue stream regardless of how fesoterodine fares in the marketplace.
Increasingly competitive generics markets are forcing companies to be as creative as they can in securing even a few weeks' head-start over competitors. Ratiopharm is exploiting Swedish GPs' widespread use of electronic prescription systems to circumnavigate a timing quirk in the country's substitution law and gain vital market share for its generic omeprazole.