Odyssey Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Division of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd.
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After a fervent US expanstion capped by the surprise $150 million licensing of Indevus OAB treatment Sanctura, proprietary ambitions at the Croatian generics play Pliva may be stalling. Sanctura sales have disappointed, illustrating again the challenges of taking a specialist approach to primary care marketing. Pliva's best bet may be to switch growth engines to its promising biogenerics portfolio.
If the nominal theme of Windhover's 2004 Pharmaceutical Strategic Alliances conference was "transitions", the full subtext was "transitions to sustainability." Mid-sized players appear to have the best shot at sustainability in an environment where, increasingly, less differentiated, primary care blockbusters are out, and specialist products are in.
Pliva's not the obvious choice of US marketing partner for Indevus' overactive bladder drug Sanctura. With no primary care presence in the US, the company will likely face an uphill battle to commercialize the drug; more so given the stiff competition in OAB from some of the world's leading Big Pharma marketeers. Yet the deal's about more than success with Sanctura. It's about both parties moving up the value chain--Pliva into the US proprietary drugs arena and Indevus into sales and marketing.
Buying Sobel Holdings makes Croatia's Pliva one of the first eastern European companies to buy into the US market. It's doing so cleverly, leveraging future revenues from its biggest product, azithromycin, to fund the deal, and executing it through a tax-efficient Hungarian subsidiary.