Pfizer Inc, the world’s largest drugmaker, has scrapped a deal to sell insulin products made by Biocon, leaving India’s biggest biotech company without a partner to sell the drugs in key global markets such as the United States.
The companies cited “individual priorities” as the reason for the split, which immediately ends a relationship that stood to earn Biocon hundreds of millions of dollars in royalties.
“The development is definitely negative for Biocon’s insulin sales as it will have to look for new partners,” said Bino Pathiparampil, an analyst at Mumbai brokerage IIFL.
“This is mainly because of strategy confusion. Pfizer’s business strategy has been changing over the last two to three years, which probably has led to this development.”
Biocon will retain payments already received from Pfizer, Biocon’s chairman, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, told Reuters after the companies announced the split on Tuesday.
“We will receive additional amounts as settlement from escrow,” she said, without providing details.
Pfizer made upfront payments of $200 million to Biocon and the Indian drugmaker was eligible to receive additional development and regulatory milestone payments of up to $150 million in addition to royalties.
“We are tweaking down our estimates for Biocon for the fiscal year 2013 after this news, for sure,” said Siddhant Khandekar, an analyst at ICICI Direct in Mumbai. “We expect a 1.5 to 2 rupees hit on their earnings per share, from 20.4 rupees down to around 18.4 rupees.”
Deutsche Bank cut its target price for Biocon shares by 9 per cent to 215 rupees after Pfizer’s exit, citing increased risk for the Indian drugmaker. Biocon’s shares fell more than 7 per cent in early trading after the split was announced.
The Biocon-Pfizer divorce is the latest blow for relations between Indian drugmakers and their global counterparts and comes a day after Germany’s Bayer lost a landmark ruling in India, forcing it to grant a compulsory licence for its cancer treatment Nexavar to Natco Pharma.
The Bayer ruling is likely to unnerve international pharmaceutical companies that see emerging markets like India as a major growth opportunity, but remain worried about intellectual property protection in such countries.