• SERVICES
  • INDUSTRIES
  • PERSPECTIVES
  • ABOUT
  • ENGAGE

R&D

by EOS Intelligence EOS Intelligence No Comments

Shire-Baxalta Deal – Post Merger Opportunities

407views

In January 2016, Shire Plc., an Irish specialty biopharmaceutical company, announced that it will combine with Baxalta Inc., a biopharmaceutical company that was formed as a result of spun off biopharmaceutical division of Baxter International, to become one of the global leaders in the rare diseases segment. The US$32 billion merger deal closed in June the same year and the merged company will be known as Shire. Benefitting from Ireland’s relatively low corporate tax rate, the new company aims at becoming a global leader in rare diseases and expects to deliver robust compound annual growth with over US$20 billion in annual revenues by 2020. While prior to the acquisition, Shire Plc. used to get 45% of its revenue from rare disease treatments, with the Baxalta deal, Shire expects its rare disease portfolio revenue to rise to 65% in the combined entity, clearly indicating the key focus of the newly formed company.

Shire Plc. M&A activity over the past three years helped the company fortify presence in the rare disease specialty, leading way to future synergies achieved through the Baxalta deal. In 2014, Shire Plc. acquired US-based Lumena Pharmaceuticals in a US$260 million plus deal. With this acquisition, Shire Plc. added late stage development compounds for the treatment of rare hepatic diseases and treatment of non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In 2015, the company forged another big takeover, a US$5.2 billion deal with NPS Pharmaceuticals, a rare-disease drug specialist. Via this transaction, Shire Plc. gained ownership of lifesaving drugs named Gattex and Natpara expanding its rare disease product portfolio in the gastrointestinal (GI) segment.

While adding new products to its product list, Shire Plc. growth strategy focused on building a portfolio predominantly in rare conditions. Another addition to the list was Cinryze, a medicine for hereditary angioedema (HAE) condition, which came with the buyout of ViroPharma, a US-based biotechnology company, for about US$4.2 billion in 2014. This was followed by acquiring US-based Dyax Corporation in 2015 for nearly US$6.5 billion adding DX-2930, an injectable to lower the rate of HAE attacks, to the list of rare disease drugs. Shire Plc. deals, which consistently focused on inorganic growth in the rare disease market, were complemented by organic development of a robust pipeline also within the rare disease scope.

Rare diseases drugs, often named as orphan drugs, have been among the key focus areas for many pharmaceutical companies over the past two decades, as such products bring in high profit margins and regulatory benefits coming from their development. The new company created through the Shire-Baxalta deal is therefore likely to benefit from the new combined rare disease drugs range. With the acquisition of Baxalta, Shire has a diversified portfolio with a combined rare disease platform in the fields of immunology, oncology, hematology, neuroscience, ophthalmic, GI, as well as LSDs and HAE. Baxalta brings a particularly valuable portfolio of treatments to the table, as even during the talks with Shire Plc. on the planned merger, in January 2016, it inked a deal of US$1.6 billion with Symphogen, a Danish biotechnology company. Through this agreement, for an upfront payment of US$175 million paid to Symphogen, Baxalta acquired exclusive rights to six cancer immunotherapies, focusing on growing area of cancer research called immuno-oncology. The Shire-Baxalta deal gives the newly formed Shire the opportunity to take these therapies through later-stage trials to the market.

1-Takeover Performance

Shire also plans to take advantage of Baxalta’s new manufacturing facilities. The new entity announced it would increase its research activity in the Baxalta’s R&D site in Cambridge, Massachusetts research campus, one of the hubs for biotech research that opened in December 2015. It would add another 100 to 200 jobs to the existing research team of 400 people at the center.

2-Ambition “20 X 20”

EOS Perspective

Shire, thanks to the synergies and elements brought in to the deal by both companies, has a promising starting point due to two key factors:

  • Strong financial tax profile: Despite the fact that Shire focuses in its operations on the US market, the company expects to lower its effective tax rate to between 16% and 17% by 2017. This can be achieved as the rare disease business is based in Ireland where tax policies are simpler and more accommodating.

  • Robust rare disease product portfolio: Shire has more than 50 clinical programs in different stages of development focusing on rare diseases. With more innovative products under its umbrella, Shire is likely to have a huge share in the orphan drug product market globally.

3-Catalysts & Road blocks

At present, only assumptions can be made about the future shape of the combined entity. With clear directions laid down of what the company management would like to achieve, it would be interesting to see whether Shire is able to accomplish the set mark of becoming world leader in rare diseases.

by EOS Intelligence EOS Intelligence No Comments

Government Trumps Pfizer Deal

Termination of business contract or partnership

Since its announcement last year, a US$160 billion Pfizer-Allergan merger has been under an ongoing discussion, with great synergies and tax savings expected if the deal was to be finalized, (we wrote about it in our ‘Pfizer-Allergan Deal – What’s in Store for Allergan’ article in February 2016).

However, discussions came to an abrupt end, when the merger was called off on April 6th, 2016 in the wake of changes in tax rules by the US government to check inversions. New rules disregard last three years’ (at the time of deal) acquisitions by a foreign company in the USA in determining its market value. It is a general feeling that the three-year rule was introduced primarily to stop Pfizer-Allergan deal. Since its announcement, the deal was a talking point in political debates with some presidential hopefuls taking an open stance against it.

To secure maximum tax benefits of inversion deal, Pfizer shareholders were required to own 50-60% of the merged entity. Allergan’s market capitalization stood at US$120 billion (against Pfizer’s US$200), owing to three deals, i.e. Allergan-Actavis merger (US$66 billion), Forest Laboratories acquisition (US$25 billion) and Warner Chilcott purchase (US$5 billion), struck in last three years, thereby giving Pfizer shareholders more than 50% of the combined entity. However, this will not be the case now due to drastic reduction in Allergan’s market value as a result of three-year window provision. This also means that both the companies will have to go back to the drawing board.

For Pfizer, this means the need for an increased focus on management of its vast portfolio of drugs (a mix of patent and off-patent products) with an intent to further improve profitability. While Pfizer’s patented drugs command higher prices, the off-patent ones are subject to price decline thereby impacting the company’s profitability. After the announcement of Pfizer-Allergan deal, there were speculations about sale/spin-off of Pfizer’s off-patented portfolio. However, with revenue loss due to the broken deal, the plan (if still any) to sell off-patented business is likely to be put in freezer for some time to come. This could also mean more efforts on research and development front, and being inherently a research driven company, Pfizer has some potentially lucrative drugs in pipeline (including cholesterol lowering and cancer drugs).

For Allergan, the broken deal means looking for alternative ways to strengthen its position outside the USA. The company can take inorganic route to achieve this. No headway was made towards operations restructuring of the merged entity. Therefore, in all likelihood, the research and development assets of Allergan will remain intact, one positive outcome for the company out of the broken deal, as it has some good candidates in the field of ophthalmology, urology, and women’s health. With sale of its generic business to Israeli rival Teva Pharmaceuticals in July 2015, Allergan showed the intent to focus on patented products, therefore the company will have to look for means to raise its R&D budget.

The broken Pfizer-Allergan deal will remain in discussion in coming days from the point of view of missed opportunities for both Pfizer and Allergan, as well as for the political angle involved. Even if the decision was politically motivated, it may have put moratorium on inversion as a strategy for the time being, and it would be interesting to track moves not only in the pharmaceutical space but in other industries as well, following the new regulatory regime.

by EOS Intelligence EOS Intelligence No Comments

Pfizer-Allergan Deal – What’s in Store for Allergan

320views

In November 2015, Pfizer and Allergan announced a US$160 billion merger deal. Once finalized, the Pfizer-Allergan deal would follow three large mergers/acquisitions concluded by Pfizer in the last 15 years. Though relocation to Ireland to save higher corporate tax in USA is apparently the main purpose of this merger, it is expected to create a pharmaceutical powerhouse with more than US$60 billion in annual revenue. In the light of competitive advantage this deal is anticipated to yield, it becomes imperative to look at Pfizer’s evolution since its first mega deal in 2000.

Pfizer acquired US-based Warner-Lambert in a US$110 billion deal in 2000. With this acquisition, Pfizer gained ownership of blockbuster anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor, besides some popular consumer health brands, such as Listerine. Lambert deal was shortly followed by US$60 billion purchase of US-based Pharmacia in 2003. The deal, while catapulting Pfizer’s revenue by more than US$12 billion, allowed it to gain control of successful brands, such as Celebrex (inflammation) and Xalatan (glaucoma), along with R&D pipeline of cancer drugs and a specialist-focused sales force of Pharmacia.

Pfizer waited six years for its next acquisition, and bought US-based Wyeth for US$68 billion in 2009. This deal came amid imminent expiry of Pfizer’s 14 patents through 2014, including its best-selling drug Lipitor in 2011. Pfizer looked to benefit from Wyeth’s leadership position in vaccines, nutritionals, and biologics, including Prevnar, the first pneumococcal vaccine for infants. Wyeth’s portfolio potential had indeed been locked, as evident in the net 30%-90% increase in sales of its key brands between 2009 and 2014, post-acquisition.

These three deals helped Pfizer in becoming a US$50 billion company with a diverse product portfolio. However, it came with a challenge of ensuring operational efficiency and leveraging synergies with acquired companies. This was achieved through a range of adjustments, including lay-offs to eliminate overlaps and to consolidate various functions. Pfizer deals were severe on the employees of acquired companies, with more than 90,000 jobs eliminated (which may have included those lost to attrition) between 2000 and 2014. At the time of each deal, there were apprehensions regarding the future of research and development in Pfizer. Though the company managed to maintain its R&D budget at about 16% of revenues, several sites (including six from Wyeth and two from Pharmacia) were closed post acquisitions. It was soon reflected in the company’s product pipe line, with only 17 applications filed for new product approval between 2007 and 2014, in contrast to 43 during 2000-2006.

To sum up Pfizer’s strategy, the company acquired rivals with blockbuster brands to boost its topline, and to benefit from pooling of resources. The strategy worked on most counts, except for Celebrex where the sales failed to take off partially due to pull-out (from market) of a rival drug (Merck’s Vioxx) in 2004 owing to safety reasons. Notwithstanding the criticism for massive lay-offs, Pfizer managed to create a lean organization, thereby improving its revenue per employee.

Pfizer Performance Timeline (2000-2014)

Pfizer’s next acquisition target, Allergan, came in to existence following Ireland-based Actavis’ acquisition of USA-based Allergan Inc. in March 2015, post which the combined entity was renamed Allergan. Allergan then sold its generic drugs business to Israeli rival Teva Pharmaceuticals in July 2015.

As Pfizer’s deal with Allergan looks in sight, there are speculations regarding future shape of the combined entity in terms of employee strength, sales focus, and future product pipeline (i.e. R&D).

Pfizer-Allergan deal involves trimming of sales and administration expenses by more than US$1.0 billion. This is likely to be achieved (mostly) in North America where Allergan operations are concentrated.

Cuts worth more than US$600 million are expected in R&D. With Teva deal, Allergan showed intent to focus on branded proprietary drugs, and Pfizer is also a predominantly green-field research organization. Therefore it is not clear yet, which product programs will face the ax due to little overlap in research focus of two companies.

Research Focus of Allergan and Pfizer

As Allergan declared end to lay-offs in June 2015, it was expected that most of the Actavis acquisition-related restructuring activity was over by the time Pfizer-Allergan deal was announced. This means the cost savings linked with Pfizer-Allergan merger will result from the existing operations (as of November 2015) of the two companies.

EOS Perspective

Based on precedence of Pfizer takeovers, there is a likelihood that Allergan might bear most of the brunt of cost cutting measures. However, at the outset, a simple merger is not likely to impact either efficiency or earnings (from R&D perspective) of the combined entity due to nearly identical revenue per employee (as of 2014) for both the companies, and Allergan’s significantly lower R&D expenditure (8% of its revenue vs. Pfizer’s 16%).

Cost cutting is likely to be undertaken with an eye on revenue and profitability in mid to long term. From Allergan’s perspective, we anticipate this to be achieved through the following:

  • Focus on products in the pipeline with good growth prospects: Allergan’s Rapastinel (anti-depressant) and Vraylar (schizophrenia) are in this category; another option for Pfizer-Allergan is to focus on drugs that are in advanced stages of trials i.e. Phase III and IV

  • Focus on high revenue earning products: While most Pfizer products (including those off-patented in recent years) generate revenues in the range of US$200 million to US$5 billion, Allergan’s portfolio is still underdeveloped (due to limited global exposure) except for few products from central nervous system (CNS), gastroenterology, and women’s health segments

Possible Restructuring Approach for Pfizer-Allergan

At present, only mere speculations can be offered regarding the future shape of the combined entity, as no concrete steps have been announced. It will be interesting to track the decisions taken by Pfizer-Allergan in the coming months to achieve targeted cost savings.

Top