Pfizer: Biosimilars - A Significant Component of Driving Growth For Pfizer

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Video title: Pfizer: Biosimilars - A Significant Component of Driving Growth For Pfizer
Released on: August 29, 2012. © PharmaTelevision Ltd
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In this episode of PharmaTelevision News Review, filmed at #BIO2012 Convention in Boston, Fintan Walton talks to Diem Nguyen, General Manager of BioSimilars at Pfizer
Pfizer Inc's focus and business in biosimilars space
Fintan Walton:
Hello and welcome to PharmaTelevision News Review here at BIO in Boston, 2012. On this show I have Diem Nguyen, who is General Manager of Biosimilars in Pfizer , welcome.
Diem Nguyen:
Thank you Fintan, I am pleased to be here.
Fintan Walton:
Diem, okay biosimilars you are really in the area of generics, Pfizer doing generics why?
Diem Nguyen:
Well so first I wanna just give you a little brief overview biosimilars is off-patent biologics, it's not a generic and that whole terminology biosimilar is because you can't get identical copies of biologics so in that aspect it's important to distinguish between how you develop a biosimilar, but from a Pfizer perspective to being in the off-patent marketplace we do have fully dedicated business units, our established parties business unit works specifically in the area of off-patent products, biosimilars takes a hybrid of both Pfizer's innovative aspects of developing biologics and putting the best technology and resources, and brain power behind to develop robust biosimilars but then you take the commercialization of established products that allows you to compete in a very heavily populated space where patent protection is not a viable point of differentiation.
Strategy and product portfolio in biosimilars
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so obviously then for Pfizer's it's quite an important strategic move to move into biosimilars, again the biological proteins and proteins based products are become really important to the industry, so it's one of those growth areas that you want to retain your position. So just give us some idea of what's your overall strategy in terms of biosimilars, how far you are gonna go? What type of products are you identifying?
Diem Nguyen:
So in terms of biosimilars Pfizer has fully dedicated itself and committed itself to build a broad portfolio biosimilars and we believe with our expertise in biologics our ability to develop cell lines, robust cell lines, ability to execute clinical trials as well as ensure consistency and reliability from a biologics, from a manufacturing perspective Pfizer is a natural leader to be in the biosimilar space. About two or three ,two-years ago we fully committed ourselves from an internal perspective to build a broad portfolio of at least five to seven monoclonal antibodies that we were developing internally and this spans across multiple disease areas including inflammation as well as oncology.
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so on the basis of that strategy is it all about Pfizer going alone on that or are you setting up collaborations with other potential manufacturers or suppliers of particular opportunuties?
Diem Nguyen:
No, it's a great question. It's something that we debate quite a bit and I think what it boils down to is that expertise we have in-house and we feel completely comfortable going alone specifically for the more complex proteins like monoclonals where the ability to develop as well as manufacture can be a challenge for many manufacturers with that being said I think Pfizer is always looks for partnerships and the ability to pursue partnerships with include looking at areas like in emerging markets where opportunities can be slightly differentiated or bring other assets that are unique to our portfolio.
Biosimilars business in emerging markets
Fintan Walton:
Okay, so in that respect and obviously as you said you've got the emerging markets, you've got the established markets, how much of the biosimilars business did you see being in the emerging markets going forward?
Diem Nguyen:
Well, so biosimilars business units housed within developed markets as well as emerging markets like so I have global responsibility. I think that there is a lot of opportunity in the emerging markets from a biosimilars perspective. I think that clearly the large value is in developed, but emerging markets has such a unique aspect of potentially being able to be earlier in the market because they have different patent expiry timelines so all that value is certainly an area of focus for us too.
Fintan Walton:
Right, now the other thing of course in order to compete in this particular market as you've already indicated Pfizer has already got a lot of the underlying abilities to manufacture these sort of products how important is improvements in manufacturing processes for biosimilars, because in the end you're gonna end up competing on price largely against other similar companies doing biosimilars?
Diem Nguyen:
I think it's important area of differentiation for other biosimilar manufacturers manufacturing will be certainly one of them, so if you think about the whole concept of biosimilars you are not looking to be a bio-better, you are looking to have comparable safety and efficacy profile. So how do you compete and differentiate yourself relative to other biosimilars as well as against the innovator and I think that's the concept is precisely as what you decide described and one aspect is taking new technology to develop an asset that has a similar profile as an innovator but be able to do it better, not in terms of a medical or clinical superiority, but in terms of being able to have cell lines that have extracts to better yields, better protein tighter that then you can translate into cost savings to ultimately the patient.
Relationship with other clinical programs within Pfizer
Fintan Walton:
Right and I presume there is a recently close relationship with the other biologics based clinical programs?
Diem Nguyen:
We do, I think that's where the value of Pfizer is, so if you look across, if you look at the external point of view you have a position particularly an oncologist that is prescribing chemotherapy that's largely off-patent and very innovative monoclonals from a protein therapy perspective, their decision making perspective is on both assets and so at Pfizer we believe that we can actually provide this broad portfolio of really strong innovative assets as well as biosimilars as well as their injectables and I think that collaboration needs to be done sooner as we look at what's in our pipeline from an oncologyinnovative perspective as well as our pipeline from an oncology biosimilars perspective.
Deal with Protalix
Fintan Walton:
So what is the vision then going forward in terms of how much of Pfizer's future revenue is gonna be made up of biosimilars?
Diem Nguyen:
So we don't do any forward projections of revenues, but I do think it would be a significant component of driving growth for Pfizer.
Fintan Walton:
Diem, Pfizer and Protalix [PharmaDeals ID = 34256] who you have a collaboration with just recently announced FDA approval for the ELELYSO product, could you tell me more about that?
Diem Nguyen:
Sure, early May we got approval from the FDA for a product called ELELYSO which is an enzyme replacement therapy for Gaucher disease. We are extremely proud of this accomplishment because we do really think it's gonna be a great addition to provide choices to our patients. You may have been aware that in 2009 there was a significant drug shortage for this product with other manufacturers and which caused a lot of unrest and patients were not getting optimal doses of therapy, so having another option, another choice for patients to allow them to have continuous therapy and then maintain healthy lives I think it's an important milestone for Pfizer.
Fintan Walton:
Well Diem, thank you very much indeed for coming on the show.
Diem Nguyen:
Well, thank you.
Fintan Walton
Dr Fintan Walton is the Founder and CEO of PharmaVentures . After completing his doctoral research on the genetics of cell proliferation at the University of Michigan(US)and Trinity College (Dublin, Ireland), Dr Walton gained broad commercial experience in biotechnology in management positions at Bass and Celltech plc (1982-1992).
Diem Nguyen
General Manager
At the time of recording this PTV interview Diem Nguyen serves as General Manager, Biosimilars at Pfizer Inc. Diem Nguyen is General Manager, Biosimilars for the Emerging Markets/Established Products Business Unit. With the EM/EPBU consisting of products that have lost their exclusivity " Pfizer is building up a platform for future profitable growth. As General Manager of Biosimilars, Diem is driving a core component of the EM/EPBU strategy which is slated to contribute significantly to the future revenue through business transactions and organic growth. Prior to her work at Pfizer, Diem Nguyen worked as independent consultant and held leading functions in several renowned companies such as Serologicals Corporation, Upstate Group Inc and Deloitte Consulting. In her different roles, she was mainly in charge of Strategic Planning, External & Corporate Development and Strategic Marketing, Research and Biotechnology. She attended Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, where she earned her MBA, and holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics from the University of Virginia.
PharmaVentures is a corporate finance and transactions advisory firm that has served hundreds of clients worldwide in relation to their strategic deal making in the pharmaceutical, life science and healthcare sectors. Our key offerings include: Transactions / deal negotiations; Product / technology valuations; Deal term advice; Due diligence & expert reports; Strategy formulation; Alliance management; and Expert opinion for litigation/arbitration cases. PharmaVentures provides the global expertise to ensure our clients generate the highest possible return on investment from all their deal making activities. We have experience of all therapeutic areas and can offer advice on both product and technology commercialisation.
Pfizer Inc
Pfizer Inc a biopharmaceutical company, engages in the discovery, development, manufacture, and sale of medicines for people and animals worldwide. It primarily offers Celebrex, Chantix/Champix, Lipitor, Lyrica, Premarin, Pristiq, and Viagra pharmaceutical products in the therapeutic and disease areas of Alzheimer's disease, cardiovascular, erectile dysfunction, genitourinary, depressive disorder, pain, respiratory, and smoking cessation. The company also provides BeneFIX, Enbrel, Genotropin, Geodon, Prevnar/Prevenar, Rebif, ReFacto AF, Revatio, Xalatan, Xyntha, and Zyvox pharmaceutical products in the therapeutic and disease areas of anti-infectives, endocrine disorders, hemophilia, inflammation, multiple sclerosis, ophthalmology, pulmonary arterial hypertension, specialty neuroscience, and vaccines. Further, the company provides vaccines, parasiticides, and anti-infectives to prevent and treat disease in livestock and companion animals; and non-prescription products. Pfizer Inc. was founded in 1849 and is headquartered in New York, New York.