A new area for Pfizer is its entry into biosimilars. An agreement with Biocon in India gives Pfizer marketing rights to biosimilar versions of recombinant insulin products being developed by Biocon. “There are special requirements to enter these markets, and Pfizer is well positioned to manufacture and commercialize biosimiliars.” Placing more importance on process development and supply will contain costs and make biosimilars more affordable.
Pfizer continues to build on its strength of having a strong track record in working with government regulators globally to bring products to market. “We have considerable expertise in this area and will work with regulatory agencies to bring biosimilars to market,” Schmuckler says.
Pfizer is looking for opportunities in emerging markets, including Brazil, Russia, India, Turkey, China, and the Middle East. Not only do people who live in these rapidly growing markets need biotherapeutics, but also significant research and development efforts are occurring there. Access and affordability are key to entering these markets and developing biomanufacturing opportunities.
China, for instance, requires companies who want to sell pharmaceutical and biotechnology products to its citizens to also manufacture the products in China. “That has to be factored into a company’s strategy,” comments Schmuckler. In Russia, policy dictates that half of all pharmaceuticals sold will eventually need to be manufactured there as well. “We’re looking closely at how the environment is evolving from a development and manufacturing standpoint.”
Biopharmaceuticals are becoming a larger part of the global pharmaceutical business, and vaccines are the fastest growing segment, according to Schmuckler. A big contributor is Prevnar, and Pfizer is gearing up to supply even more of the vaccine to emerging markets through a partnership with UNICEF. However, monoclonal antibodies and recombinant proteins still dominate the biotherapeutics market.
Overall, the integration of Wyeth’s biotechnology assets has gone well. The new Pfizer biotherapeutics organization is well positioned to be successful in the future, according to Schmuckler.