A bidding war to come for Strides-owned injectables unit?

The rumor mill is reporting that Pfizer Inc. and Novartis AG may both be considering an acquisition of a Strides Arcolab Ltd. business unit, with perhaps other suitors in the wings as well

Jeffrey Bouley
BANGALORE, India—Agila Specialties, the injectable-drugsunit of Indian company Strides Arcolabs Ltd., is reportedly about to be up for sale,according to sources being quotes by the EconomicTimes and Reuters, among others. Along with that news comes word fromunnamed sources close to the matter that Pfizer Inc. and Novartis AG are among the "seriousbidders" considering a run for the unit.
 
 
Other company names being bandied around are Rocheand U.S.-based private equity firm KKR, and it is said that Strides is aimingto begin a formal auction process for the unit by the end of September.
 
 
According to sources, Strides will seek between$1.6 billion and $2 billion for the unit, which would be about twice itscurrent market value. The injectables unit reportedly accounts for almost halfof the gross profits of Strides Arcolabs.
 
 
Reporting by Bloomberg suggests that interest inthe Strides unit may be driven in large part by a shortage of injectable drugs in the UnitedStates. According to the American Society ofHealth-System Pharmacists, 215 drugs are currently in short supply and most ofthem are injectables.

Some of the more notable injectable drugs are powerfulantibiotics and chemotherapy agents, both of which are primarily used inhospitals. As drugs from Big Pharma continue to lose patent protection, theglobal market for generic injectable medicines will grow by 42 percent to $17billion by 2020, according to a recent report from Citigroup.
 
 
While it might not provide any clear strategicadvantage for Pfizer, it is worth noting that Strides has a partnership inplace with Pfizer to provide various generic drugs, and this month Agila receivedFDA approval for oxaliplatin, a cancer treatment that will be distributed inthe United States through Pfizer.
  


Jeffrey Bouley

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