Pfizer plots 10-fold boost in cancer sales

We all know there's a pharma gold rush into cancer meds. They're the fastest growing segment of the market by far, and every major drugmaker wants a piece of it. And now Pfizer is saying that it's planning a big-time land grab, aiming to grow its oncology sales tenfold by 2018--and become the third-largest purveyor of cancer meds, up from seventh now, Bloomberg reports.

Let's do the math: Pfizer posted $2.5 billion in cancer sales in 2008. Over the next ten years, it wants to boost that number to ten times that amount, or some $25 billion. That's more than the GDP of Panama.

How to achieve such massive growth? Partly via R&D, of course; Bloomberg notes that a quarter of Pfizer's 100 meds in human testing are cancer drugs, and in buying Wyeth it will get six more. And then there's organic growth; oncology drug sales grew by 11.3 percent from 2007 to 2008. If that continues, and Pfizer captures a fair share of it, then that would account for a little less than half of its growth goal.

While Andreas Penk, president of Pfizer's European cancer business, was throwing around big numbers in Berlin, CEO Jeff Kindler (photo) stopped by BusinessWeek for a quick interview. He didn't mention the cancer goal, but he did say the company wants 12 years of exclusivity on biologics--including cutting-edge cancer treatments. And he promised that Pfizer has learned its lesson about megamergers throwing off R&D. We'll have to wait and see how those efforts pan out. 

- read the Bloomberg story
- check out the interview at BusinessWeek

ALSO: Pfizer released an open letter to the people of the Phillipines, expressing concern over accusations that it tried to bribe the government to forego retail price cuts. Report