Viatris plans to reveal 'significant' divesture this quarter as it moves ahead with strategic revamp

As Viatris looks to shed its reputation as a company focused solely on generics and reach $1 billion in eye care sales, the drugmaker has laid out a near-term goal to close three divestitures.

Viatris is in advanced talks with potential buyers and plans to announce “at least one” divestiture during the third quarter, CEO Scott Smith said on the company's second quarter-earnings conference call. All three deal should be revealed this year if all goes to plan, with a “significant” one slated for the third quarter, he added.

The divestitures are part of phase 1 of Viatris’ return to growth strategy. While the company says it's in a good place without the deals, the transactions “accelerate what we’re trying to do,” Chief Financial Officer Sanjeev Narula noted on the call.

Even as Viatris exits some businesses, it's focused on growing elsewhere. Last fall, the drugmaker picked up ophthalmology specialists Oyster Point Pharma and Famy Life Sciences for up to $750 million. Eye care is one of Viatris’ three new areas of focus, along with gastrointestinal diseases and dermatology.

Currently, there is no “global leader” in eye care, leaving space at the top for Viatris, division head and former Oyster Point CEO Jeffrey Nau said at the 2023 J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in January.

Meanwhile, Viatris in November sold off its global biosimilars business to Biocon for $3.3 billion. Now, it's reportedly weighing a sale of its European consumer health group.

Earlier this year, Viatris asked potential buyers to submit new bids and scratched erection dysfunction drug Viagra from the sale, Bloomberg reported at the time, citing people familiar with the matter.

Right now, the unit is performing “as expected,” but it isn’t a big growth driver in the region, Viatris President Rajiv Malik noted on the company's recent earnings call.

Viatris is sticking with its full-year revenue guidance of $15.5 billion to $16 billion after pulling in second-quarter sales of $3.9 billion. The company says phase 2 of its corporate strategy, which includes a goal of $1 billion in sales from eye care products by 2028, will kick off next year.  

Alongside its second-quarter earnings, Viartis also announced the FDA’s acceptance of its Mapi Pharma-partnered treatment for relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis. The agency will decide on the drug in March.