Pfizer gets access to more production capacity in Saudi Arabia with Tabuk deal

Pfizer ($PFE) has a manufacturing plant underway in Saudi Arabia that is slated to be operating next year. But the drugmaker has just struck a deal that will give it access to additional capacity, as well as products, in that country.

According to the Pakistan Observer, Pfizer and Saudi Arabia-based Tabuk Pharmaceuticals have a new arrangement allowing Tabuk exclusive rights to manufacture and sell in the kingdom "second brand" versions of four Pfizer drugs. Pfizer will get the rights to 12 of Tabuk's generic drugs. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Pfizer was one of the earliest members of Big Pharma to decide to manufacture in Saudi Arabia. In 2011, it set up a legal entity in the country and last year kicked off construction of a plant in Saudi Arabia, its first in the Gulf Cooperation Council area that also includes Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman. The 32,000-square-meter facility is being built in Rabigh on the western coast of Saudi Arabia. Slated to be operational in 2015, the plant will make a number of Pfizer drugs, and production is slated to hit 18 million packs per year.

Now the region is rife with companies with efforts to move toward local. Boehringer Ingelheim in May struck its own deal with Tabuk, which, along with Saudi Arabia-based Cigalah, will manage and handle secondary packaging projects for 26 Boehringer Ingelheim products in that country. Just this week, India's Cipla said it would buy 51% of a company in Yemen to get access to local production there.

- read the Pakistan Observer story