Hikma grabs regional rights to 30-plus Perrigo OTC drugs, with option for more

Hikma building with new logo
Hikma signed a licensing and distribution agreement with Perrigo's Omega Pharma to sell the latter's OTC products in the MENA region. (Prophet)

Here’s what one product collaboration can lead to. After partnering on an allergy spray with Perrigo, Jordan-based generics player Hikma has snapped up rights to 30-plus Perrigo products in the Middle East and North Africa.

Through a new licensing and distribution deal cut with Omega Pharma, a European OTC drugmaker Perrigo bought in 2015 for $4.6 billion, Hikma will sell more than 30 consumer health products by Perrigoincluding nutrition supplement Davitamon, allergy spray Prevalin, weight loss helper XLS Medical, skin treatment Dermalex and lice fighter Paranix.

In addition, Hikma has the right to first engage with Perrigo to expand the deal to all other Perrigo over-the-counter medicines sold in the region.

The Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is without doubt Hikma’s playground; after all, it is headquartered in Jordan, a natural geographic advantage that makes it a partner of choice in the region. For 2017, the MENA market made up a third of Hikma’s total revenue of $1.94 billion.

Hikma has a substantial local presence with operations in 17 markets, including FDA-approved manufacturing sites in Jordan and Saudi Arabia, and a 2,000-member-strong sales and marketing team experienced in consumer health. Hikma said in a release that it aims to work with Perrigo’s existing partners there to expand coverage.

This is not the first time the two companies have partnered up. Through its wholly owned subsidiary West-Ward Pharmaceuticals, Hikma in 2016 worked with Perrigo to gain approval and then launch a fluticasone spray, an equivalent of GlaxoSmithKline’s Flonase.

RELATED: New Hikma CEO Olafsson gets to work on 200 more generics layoffs

Both companies have been cutting back lately amid an industrywide generics struggle, especially in the U.S. market. Last year, Perrigo went through a round of layoffs as part of a larger cost-saving plan. All together, 750 employees were let go, representing about 14% of its nonproduction workforce.

Before former Teva generics chief Siggi Olafsson landed as Hikma’s new CEO, Hikma said it would consolidate manufacturing and warehouse facilities in the U.S., costing about 200 jobs. The plan includes closing a plant in Eatontown, New Jersey, and shuttering a Memphis, Tennessee-based distribution center.

In a recent setback, Hikma and its partner Vectura joined a long list of companies that had their copies to GlaxoSmithKline’s respiratory stalwart Advair turned down by the FDA. The agency’s request for an additional clinical study could delay the pair’s generic version until 2020, Vectura said in March.

Editor's Note: The story has been corrected to show that Hikma announced the consolidation plan before Olafsson became CEO, and that it did not change its manufacturing footprint in Jordan.