Pfizer hunting for partners in biosimilar quest

Faced with the prospect of losing billions of dollars to generic competitors, Pfizer is laying the foundation for an ambitious leap into the biosimilar business. David Simmons, who runs Pfizer's established products business unit, told Bloomberg that the pharma company is gearing up plans to sell a copy of biologic blockbusters like Amgen's Epogen and Sanofi's Lovenox in four or five years. The Pfizer biosimilar pipeline could eventually include 10 to 15 biologics, and the company is hunting for new partners or buyout deals that can help it meet its goals.

"If I see an opportunity in the near term with an external partner, I would be pursuing it pretty rapidly using my business unit's own resources," Simmons told Bloomberg.

Pfizer CEO Jeffrey Kindler (photo) has been supportive of a move underway in Congress to establish a regulatory framework for FDA approval of follow-on biologics. And IMS has reported that the market for biosimilars looks ready to grow at a swift pace as pioneering therapies like Rituxan and Humalog lose patent protection.

The fledgling biosimilar market holds plenty of attractions for a company like Pfizer. High retail prices can be easily undercut by copies, and the R&D expense in making a follow-on is considerably less than the price of advancing a new medicine from discovery to Phase IV.

- here's the article from Bloomberg