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Hospira takes charge of biogeneric Neupogen

Published on 14/10/09 at 09:10am

US pharmaceutical company Hospira has acquired worldwide rights to a biogeneric version of Amgen's neutropenia treatment Neupogen (filgrastim) in a deal which also gives it a manufacturing facility in Croatia.

Hospira has acquired the product and facility from Croatian drugmaker Pliva, a subsidiary of Israeli generic drugs giant Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, and said the move would help extend its "reach and vertical integration in biogenerics".

In effect the agreement gives the US firm complete control over biogeneric filgrastim, including worldwide marketing rights, and buys out its former development partner for the drug.

Hospira also gains process development capabilities and an additional European manufacturing base in Zagreb with sufficient capacity to meet its production requirements for filgrastim and also pegfilgrastim, a long-acting version of the drug marketed by Amgen as Neulasta.

Combined worldwide sales of Neulasta and Neupogen fell 2.5% to $2.23 billion in the first half of 2009.

"The additional vertical integration this deal brings, as well as the access to broader markets for our products, further demonstrates Hospira's robust commitment to the biogenerics space," said Ron Squarer, senior vice president of global marketing and corporate development at Hospira.

The company has filed marketing applications for filgrastim in Europe and Australia, and has made no secret of its ambitions to take on Neulasta as well. The firm said it intends to launch its biogeneric pegfilgrastim in Europe, Asia and the US "prior to the expiry of patents relating to Neulasta".

It intends to register the Croatian plant as well as another facility in Australia as global sites of manufacture for pegfilgrastim.

Since taking over Pliva, Teva has embarked on a cost-cutting exercise at the Croatian firm which has already seen a plant in Ireland sold off and another in the Czech Republic closed down, as well as ongoing staff reductions affecting around 800 people.

The Croatian firm has retained another plant manufacturing active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) in Zagreb and has been investing in boosting production efficiency at this unit.

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