Pfizer severs supply deal with India's Claris

Even as other companies are tightening links with Indian generics makers, Pfizer has killed another marriage, this one with Claris Lifesciences. Pfizer called off a proposed marketing agreement with Biocon in March.

The acknowledgment comes even as Claris has worked its way back into the good graces of the FDA over a sterile drugs plant in India that was banned for two years from shipping drugs to the U.S. The alert was imposed in June 2010 after reports that some of the company's products were contaminated with fungus. Pfizer ($PFE) was forced to recall some antibiotics and an anti-nausea product contracted out to Claris that were tied to the contamination issues.

A Pfizer spokesperson confirmed for The Economic Times via email that the company "has terminated its supply agreement and has no current plans to source any products from Claris." It did not note when it put the kibosh on that relationship, which it formed in 2009 as Pfizer was working to build a portfolio of generic drugs. The arrangement gave Pfizer the rights in Western markets to 15 off-patent parenteral drugs Claris manufactured.

There has been a lot of action in terms of companies making arrangements with Indian generics makers because of their low costs at a time when generics are taking a much larger piece of the drug market. For example, Gilead Sciences ($GILD) just made a deal with India's Ranbaxy Laboratories and Strides Arcolab, as well as with U.S.-based Mylan ($MYL) on manufacturing some of its AIDS/HIV medications. The companies are aiming for high-volume production at reduced cost so that prices can be reduced as well, Gilead said in a statement.

Pfizer deep-sixed a $350 million deal to sell Bangalore-based Biocon's insulin products in March, The Economic Times points out, but has maintained relationships with Hyderabad-based Aurobindo Pharma and Bangalore-based Strides.

Its relationship with Strides has led some analysts to mention Pfizer as a possible candidate to buy Agila, the Strides sterile injectables unit, which rumors suggest Strides is looking at selling since it has become so valuable in the face of problems among competitors like Hospira ($HSP). The two have a relationship, but Agila also supplies drugs to other big drugmakers, including GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) and Novartis ($NVS).

- here's the Economic Times story 

Related Articles:
India's Strides may put its Agila injectables unit on the block 
Claris closeout letter ends product ban tied to contamination 
Pfizer nabs generics, emerging-market rights 
Pfizer's marketing pact with Biocon falls apart 
Gilead inks low-cost HIV drug deal with generics makers