The year 2023, marked by the persistent echoes of the COVID-19 pandemic, unfolded as a rollercoaster for the health sector, with the pharmaceutical industry at the forefront.
Amidst the resurgence of integrative and precision medicines, and the expanding API business, the pharma sector witnessed a dynamic spectrum, ranging from groundbreaking drug developments to successful commercialisation.
Amid these shifts, a flurry of policies had hit headlines. These include the Online Medicine Sale Policy, the National Pharmaceutical Policy, and the Research and Development (R&D) Policy in Pharma & Medtech. Each policy played a role in steering the industry through uncharted territories, contributing to the sector's continuous evolution.
At the heart of this transformative journey were the noteworthy acquisitions that left an indelible mark on the pharma landscape. Let's take a closer look at some of the top acquisitions that shaped the pharma sector in 2023.
The Cabinet approved a significant Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) of nearly INR 9,589 Cr in Suven Pharmaceuticals by Cyprus' Berhyanda Limited. Berhyanda Limited gained approval to acquire up to 76.1% equity shares, marking a noteworthy pharma acquisition of the year. This move emphasises the robust growth and investment potential in India’s pharmaceutical sector. The investment is poised to enhance Suven Pharmaceuticals’ capabilities, fostering advancements in pharmaceutical research and development.
Nirma, based in Ahmedabad, secured an agreement to acquire 75% of Glenmark's active pharmaceutical ingredient (API) unit, Glenmark Life Sciences (GLS). The deal, valued at INR 5,651.5 Cr, positions Nirma as a significant player in the API sector, marking its entrance into the pharmaceutical industry. This strategic move expands Nirma's pharmaceutical portfolio, encompassing injectables, parenteral, and ophthalmic products, angd stands as the company's major bet in the pharmaceutical sector.
India Resurgence Fund (IndiaRF), promoted by Piramal Enterprises and Bain Capital, acquired Ind-Swift Laboratories' Contract Research and Manufacturing Services (CRAMS) and Active Pharma Ingredients (API) for INR 1650 Cr. This strategic acquisition reinforces IndiaRF's position in the pharmaceutical sector and expands its capabilities in CRAMS and API services.
4. Biocon's Series of Acquisitions
Ahmedabad-based Eris Lifesciences acquired Biocon Biologics' dermatology and nephrology units in India for INR 366 Cr. The deal, including partial funding through debt financing, adds over 20 mother brands to Eris's portfolio. Notable legacy brands, such as Tacrograf and Renodapt in organ transplants, and emerging brands like Bionesp and Erypro in chronic kidney disease-induced anaemia, are now part of Eris's portfolio.
Biocon Generics Inc, a subsidiary of Biocon, acquired Eywa Pharma Inc's oral solid dosage manufacturing facility in the United States for a total consideration of $7.7 Mn. This acquisition strengthens Biocon's presence in the US pharmaceutical market. It further allows Biocon to accelerate the production of oral solid dosage forms for new products, allowing the company to meet market demands effectively.
The acquisition of Viatris’ global biosimilars business by Biocon Biologics is valued at up to $3.33 billion. The deal includes a cash payment of $ 2 billion and a convertible preferred equity issuance of $ 1 billion, creating a unique, fully integrated, leading global biosimilar enterprise with eight commercialised products.
1. Pfizer's Acquisition of Seagen
Just days back, Pfizer acquired Seagen in a $43 billion cash deal. Announced on March 13, 2023, and completed after regulatory approvals, the aim is to strengthen Pfizer’s leadership in oncology and fast-track the next generation of cancer breakthroughs. This $43 billion acquisition stands as the most significant pharma deal of 2023.
2. Roche's Acquisition of Carmot Therapeutics
Swiss pharmaceutical giant Roche acquired Carmot Therapeutics, a California-based anti-obesity drug developer, in a deal close to $3.1 billion. Roche aims to enter the rapidly growing market for weight loss treatments, leveraging Carmot's assets with a focus on GLP-1 agonists for effective weight loss. The acquisition is strategic to Roche's positioning in this competitive landscape.
3. AbbVie's Acquisition of Cerevel Therapeutics
AbbVie confirmed the acquisition of Cerevel Therapeutics for approximately $8.7 billion. This strategic move aims to counter declining revenues from Humira, AbbVie's arthritis drug. With biosimilar versions of Humira entering the US market, a significant revenue drop is projected. The acquisition of Cerevel Therapeutics is part of AbbVie's diversification strategy.
4. AstraZeneca's Acquisition of Icosavax
AstraZeneca acquired vaccine developer Icosavax in a deal valued at up to $1.1 billion. This cash deal, valuing US-listed Icosavax at $15 per share, aims to strengthen AstraZeneca's drugs pipeline. An additional $5 per share is provisioned for specific milestones achieved in the development of vaccines.
5. Bristol Myers Squibb's Acquisition of Mirati Therapeutics
Bristol Myers Squibb, a US pharma giant, acquired Mirati Therapeutics for $4.8 billion. This strategic move is expected to enhance Bristol Myers Squibb's oncological offerings, with the potential positioning of Adagrasib as a leading treatment for cancer patients. The acquisition is anticipated to reinforce Bristol Myers Squibb's standing in the oncology market and pave the way for innovative cancer treatments.
6. Merck's Acquisition of Caraway Therapeutics
Merck, also known as MSD outside the United States and Canada is set to acquire Caraway Therapeutics, Inc through a definitive agreement valued at around $620 million. This move aims at strengthening Merck's portfolio in the neurodegenerative disease space. The deal includes an undisclosed upfront payment and contingent milestone payments.
In assessing the pharmaceutical landscape of 2023, notable events encompass both successes and challenges within the industry.
Strategic Moves: Nimmagadda's Return and Viatris' API Biz Acquisition
This year marked the comeback of Nimmagadda Prasad, also known as Matrix Prasad, to the pharmaceutical sector after a hiatus of 17 years. The acquisition of Viatris' Indian API Biz marked a significant move, although the financial details of the deal remain undisclosed. The pharmaceutical major noted in a regulatory filing that the sale of its India API operations is part of a larger global divestiture valued at $6.94 billion.
Missed Opportunities: Torrent Pharma and Cipla Deal
On the flip side, a potential game-changing acquisition stirred headlines before ultimately faltering. Torrent Pharma emerged as a leading contender to acquire Cipla, the country's third-largest drugmaker. Initially estimated by Bernstein analysts to be around $7 billion, the deal faced challenges when the Cipla family demanded an increase to $13 billion, causing disagreements among promoters. Regrettably, what was anticipated to be the largest deal in the history of pharmaceuticals in India did not materialise, concluding as a missed opportunity for acquisition.
Currently standing at a valuation of approximately $50 billion, India solidifies its position as the third-largest pharmaceutical industry globally. Projections from the Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) indicate that the nation's pharma sector is poised to burgeon, with revenue expected to reach $130 billion by 2030.
As we bid farewell to 2023, the pharmaceutical industry stands as a harbinger of promising prospects on the horizon. Looking ahead, the industry's ability to navigate changes and capitalise on emerging opportunities will be pivotal. Further, we eagerly anticipate what 2024 has in store, it is clear that the pharmaceutical industry is on a trajectory of continuous evolution, poised for new developments and advancements that will shape the healthcare landscape.
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