Pfizer Expands its Grasp on the Pharma Industry

Pfizer will acquire a whole new set of abuse deterrent pain drugs through the deal.

Pfizer Inc will acquire King Pharmaceuticals Inc, a diversified specialty pharmaceutical discovery and clinical development company, for $3.6 billion in cash.

King's portfolio includes a focus on delivering new formulations of pain treatments designed to discourage common methods of misuse and abuse. It also include the Meridian auto- injector business for emergency drug delivery, which develops and manufactures the EpiPen and is a long-term, critical supplier to the U.S. Department of Defense, and an animal health business that offers a variety of feed additive products for a wide range of species.

King's three key businesses are complementary to Pfizer's businesses and are also aligned with Pfizer's Primary Care, Established Products, and Animal Health business units.

This combination will allow Pfizer to leverage its existing commercial capabilities and expertise to create one of the leading broad portfolios for pain relief and management in the biopharmaceutical industry, offering both currently marketed opioid and non-opioid products, as well as a pipeline spanning stages of clinical development.

In addition to Pfizer's current treatments for pain — which include Lyrica and Celebrex – King will bring Avinza, the Flector Patch and the recently launched Embeda, the first approved opioid pain product with design features intended to discourage misuse and abuse, two compounds in registration, which have the potential to lower the risk of abuse, as well as other compounds in development.

“We are highly impressed by King's innovative products and technology in the pain relief disease area, as well as by its success in advancing promising compounds in its pipeline. The combination of our respective portfolios in this area of unmet medical need is highly complementary and will allow us to offer a fuller spectrum of treatments for patients across the globe who are in need of pain relief and management,” said Jeffrey Kindler, Pfizer's chairman and chief executive officer, in a press release. “In addition, the revenue generated by King's portfolio will further diversify Pfizer's business, while at the same time contributing to steady earnings growth and shareholder value.”

“By bringing together King's capabilities in new formulations of pain treatments, designed to discourage common methods of misuse and abuse, with Pfizer's commercial, medical and regulatory expertise, global strength in patient services and reimbursement, and global scale and resources, we believe Pfizer can build on our foundation and take our business to the next level," said Brian Markison, chairman and chief executive officer of King, in a press release.

The market for pain relief and management treatments is increasing, with physicians in the U.S. writing approximately 320 million prescriptions to treat pain in 2009. However, the widespread misuse and abuse of prescription pain treatments is a major public health issue and a growing economic burden for the entire industry. King's leadership in new formulations of pain treatments designed to discourage common methods of misuse and abuse will provide Pfizer with multiple new drug delivery platforms, while providing potential long-term upside.

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How will the merger affect the current pain drug pharmaceutical market? What are your thoughts?