NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Pfizer is already the world's-largest drug maker, and its potential acquisition of Wyeth would return the pharma giant to what it was several years ago: an expansive health-care company with tentacles that reach not only into research and development of prescription medications but also into biotechnology and consumer products.
Which would be somewhat ironic, as Pfizer sold its portfolio of consumer-health-care products (including Listerine, Purell and Rogaine) to Johnson & Johnson in 2006.
But Pfizer is a different company than it was three years ago. Its drug pipeline has slowed considerably, most notably in its efforts to replace cholesterol drug Lipitor, the world's top-selling drug. Lipitor had $12.7 billion in sales in 2007 and will come off patent protection in 2011, when it will face generic competition. Erectile-dysfunction drug Viagra will lose patent protection a year later.
By acquiring Wyeth, Pfizer would soften the blow of losing Lipitor and Viagra by adding such consumer-health products as Advil, Centrum, Dimetapp and ChapStick as well as such direct-to-consumer medications as arthritis drug Enbrel and Wyeth's portfolio of biotech drugs. Wyeth is considered one of the world's leading biotech and vaccine makers, producing such blockbusters as Prevnar, a children's vaccine against pneumonia.
If it sounds like a familiar modus operandi for Pfizer, well, it is. In 2003, Pfizer acquired Pharmacia Corp. and brought such blockbuster drugs as Detrol and Celebrex into its vast marketing machine.
TNS Media Intelligence