Pfizer Inc Datamonitor USA Datamonitor Europe Datamonitor Hong Kong Pfizer Inc ABOUT DATAMONITOR
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Pfizer, one of the largest pharmaceutical companies, discovers, develops, manufactures and marketsprescription medicines for humans and animals. The company operates in more than 150 countries.
Pfizer is headquartered in New York City, New York and employs about 98,000 people.
The company recorded revenues of $48,371 million during the fiscal year ended December 2006,an increase of 2% over 2005. The increase was primarily due to the strong performance by thecompany’s new products over the past three years. The operating profit of the company was $12,124million during fiscal year 2006, an increase of 8.3% over 2005. The net profit was $19,337 millionin fiscal year 2006, as compared to a net profit of $8,085 in 2005. KEY FACTS Head Office
Pfizer Inc235 East 42nd StreetNew York CityNew York 10017USA
Web Address Revenue / turnover Financial Year End Employees New York Ticker Pfizer Inc SWOT Analysis SWOT ANALYSIS
Pfizer is the world’s largest research-based biomedical and pharmaceutical company and also is aleader in discovering and developing innovative animal vaccines and prescription medicines. Thecompany has a significant commercial infrastructure that makes it’s a partner of choice for marketingpharmaceutical products. However, expiration of patent that covers Lipitor, one of its blockbusters,would affect Pfizer’s revenue and profitability growth. Strengths Weaknesses
Economy of scale associated with being the
largest player in the pharmaceutical industry
markets (cardiovascular, CNS and infectious
disease) and high dependency on smallmolecule productsLimited penetration of the high growth I&Iand oncology markets and an associatedminimal presence in biologics
Achieve further operating cost efficiencies
Expiry of Lipitor patent in 2010, combined
Further M&A activity (involving acquisition
of biotech, generic or non-pharma players)
Failure of torcetrapib in Phase III clinical
small molecule targeted cancer market (led
Further M&A activity with rival Big Pharma
player would be unlikely to diversifytherapeutic/molecule type offering and addminimal long term benefit. Strengths
Economy of scale associated with being the largest player in the pharmaceutical industry
Not only is Pfizer the largest player in the pharmaceutical industry, but its current magnitude ofdominance over second placed GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and third placed Sanofi-Aventis is significant,at around +$10 billion in annual revenue.
As a result of its size, Pfizer appears to benefit from significant economies of scale. For instance,over the period 2002–2006, Pfizer had a five year COGS/total revenues ratio of 15.2%, the lowest
Pfizer Inc SWOT Analysis
in the peer set by some margin. It is clear that unit costs of manufacturing tail off as product volumesbecome bigger and bigger, with Pfizer the leading beneficiary of this trend. Furthermore, Pfizer’slow COGS/TR ratio drove an impressive 2001–2006 EBIT margin is 36.1%.
While the two largest Big Pharma companies (Pfizer and GSK) are forecast to record declining salesout to 2012, they do possess an inherent advantage over their smaller peers: their vast scale allowsthem to enjoy significant economies of scale (particularly through declining unit costs of manufacturewith increasing volume) and they can therefore achieve higher than average operating profits.
Considerable sales and marketing capabilities, thereby making Pfizer the marketing partner of choice
Despite the announcement of a 20% sales force cut-back in December 2006 (see Opportunities)Pfizer also benefits from having one of the largest sales and marketing force in the industry (a resultof its M&A activity with Warner Lambert in 2000 and Pharmacia in 2003). This will continue to propelgrowth for existing product franchises and retain Pfizer’s position as the marketing partner of choice(particularly in the US) among smaller players who lack sufficient internal resources to support newdrug launches. Weaknesses
High exposure to patent expiries and generic sales erosion
The most significant barrier to sales growth for Pfizer over the period 2006–2012 is the company’sexposure to patent expiries and result generic competition. Four of Pfizer’s five largest productfranchises are forecast to face generic competition over the period 2006–2012, the most significantof these being Lipitor (patent expiry in 2010).
Pfizer’s high exposure to generic competition will be heavily dictated by the company’s positioningin terms of therapy area and molecule type focus. Pfizer is entrenched in the low/negative growthcardiovascular, CNS and infectious disease markets. At an industry-wide level, the cardiovascularand CNS markets in particular are forecast to perform poorly due to a declining level of unmet patientneed, a lack of innovative new drug launches and exposure to cheaper, generic competitors.
Entrenchment in low growth therapeutic markets (cardiovascular, CNS and infectious disease) andhigh dependency on small molecule products
In addition, Pfizer’s cardiovascular, CNS and infectious disease presence is primarily small moleculein focus. At the product level an extremely clear theme emerges as to why small molecules have asubstantially lower growth rate than biologics – they are the only product type that is currently exposedto generic competition on patent expiry.
Therefore, Pfizer’s limited presence in the forecast high growth oncology and I&I markets is alsorelated to the dominance of small molecules in its portfolio and a lack of high growth biologic therapies. Pfizer Inc SWOT Analysis
Like other Big Pharma players, Pfizer will find it extremely difficult to penetrate the biologics oncologymarket, given that Roche has established a dominant position via its acquisition of Genentech andthere are simply no alternative biotech companies that could be bought up by Pfizer (or another BigPharma player) and provide a similar market position. Instead Pfizer is seeking to expand its presencein oncology via targeted small molecule therapies (see opportunities).
Limited penetration of the high growth I&I and oncology markets and an associated minimal presencein biologics
Interestingly, Pfizer did previously benefit from a higher penetration of the I&I market. Its primarymotivation for merging with Pharmacia in 2003 was the acquisition of the Cox-2 inhibitor drugsCelebrex and Bextra, which were perceived to act as key growth drivers for the company out to 2012and beyond. However, the withdrawal of Merck & Co.’s rival drug Vioxx in 2004 subsequently causedthe US FDA to request the additional withdrawal of Bextra, while forecast sales for Celebrex havebeen considerably blunted by safety concerns regarding the Cox-2 inhibitor class in general.
Furthermore, Pfizer had previously been co-developing Celltech’s mAb I&I treatment Cimzia butpulled out of the deal due to the terms of the licensing agreement (Pfizer had bought into the dealvia its merger with Pharmacia). UCB subsequently acquired Celltech as a means to acquire Cimzia. Pfizer’s decision to pull away from this drug is symbolic of the company’s wider small molecule focus,which will prove damaging out to 2011, given the high growth and low generic exposure of biologics.
Pfizer’s core and expiry configuration also points to historical deficiencies, namely a lack of majorblockbuster launches at the turn of the last decade, following the launch of Viagra in 1998. Lyrica,launched in 2004/2005 was the next blockbuster product to emerge from Pfizer’s pipeline. As a resultof a maturing portfolio (caused by this historical launch lag) and exposure to generic competition,Pfizer will be forced to leverage a greater proportion of total sales growth from its late stage R&Dpipeline. This represents a higher risk strategy and one, which given the failure of torcetrapib, willnot provide sufficient sales growth.
A lack of blockbuster launches between 1999 and 2004
Pfizer’s core and expiry configuration also points to historical deficiencies, namely a lack of majorblockbuster launches at the turn of the last decade, following the launch of Viagra in 1998. Lyrica,launched in 2004/2005 was the next blockbuster product to emerge from Pfizer’s pipeline. As a resultof a maturing portfolio (caused by this historical launch lag) and exposure to generic competition,Pfizer will be forced to leverage a greater proportion of total sales growth from its late stage R&Dpipeline. This represents a higher risk strategy and one, which given the failure of torcetrapib, willnot provide sufficient sales growth. Opportunities
Achieve further operating cost efficiencies
Pfizer Inc SWOT Analysis
With Pfizer forecast to record negative sales growth out to 2012, one solution would be to reduceoperating costs so that operating profits still rise in the face of declining sales. In terms of identifyingareas to trim, out of R&D costs, COGS costs and sales and marketing costs, the high cost of BigPharma’s large army of sales people is eye-catching. Pfizer announced in December 2006 that itplans to cut 20% of its sales representatives, demonstrating that cost cutting of this operationalexpense is the company’s preferred strategy to drive profit growth. Pfizer pioneered the use ofmultiple sales representatives targeting the same doctor but it now appears that the company willreverse this strategy.
Analysis of various pharmaceutical sales force models has concluded that high sales force densityprovides a diminishing return on investment, while prior to this point incremental revenue growth isminimal relative to additional sales representatives. A 20% sales rep cutback should therefore allowPfizer to cut costs without denting the effectiveness of its sales force.
Given that the other players in the Big Pharma peer set are forecast by Datamonitor to record amodest average sales compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.4% over 2006–2012, it would notbe surprising if other members of the peer set follow Pfizer’s lead and began implementing their ownsales force cutbacks in the hope of raising profit margins through cost efficiencies as revenue growthfalters. Indeed, the Big Pharma companies with the lowest forecast growth rates in the peer set suchas are prime candidates for following suit.
Thus one possible reaction to the muted Big Pharma sales forecast and Pfizer’s first move at salescuts is to trigger a peer set-wide climb down from the sales force ‘arms race’ that has been escalatingsince the 1990s. Clearly there is a distinct possibility that the current situation of one third of totalrevenues being spent on sales and marketing might be set to change.
Further M&A activity (involving acquisition of biotech, generic or non-pharma players)
If squeezing operating costs is insufficient alone to deliver profit growth, another approach for Pfizerwould be to undertake further M&A activity. Datamonitor believes that additional M&A with other BigPharma players could prove damaging (see Threats) but acquisition of biotech, generic or non-pharmacompanies provide an opportunity to increase sales growth. These scenarios are outlined below.
Pfizer could tackle head-on the issue of accessing the attractive oncology/I&I segment of the marketby buying up biotechs. The classic example of this was the 1990 acquisition of Genentech by Roche(followed by a 1995 licensing agreement). Indeed this option could be colloquially termed ‘doing aRoche’. The main problem with trying to mimic Roche’s move is (a) it is 15 years later and (b)Genentech has already been bought – because Genentech’s leadership of the monoclonal antibodytechnology space is second to none there is no obvious equivalent purchase target for accessingoncology/I&I biologics.
Nonetheless, 2006/07 has seen a sequence of M&A moves by Big Pharma companies (with currentlyvery little biologics exposure) to access monoclonal antibody technology/products includingAstraZeneca’s purchase of Cambridge Antibody Technology and MedImmune, Merck & Co.’spurchase of GlycoFi and Abmaxis and GSK’s purchase of Domantis. None of these acquisitions will
Pfizer Inc SWOT Analysis
give the Big Pharma companies immediate access to major revenues from the high growth segment,but they do signal the long-term intention to move into this attractive area. Indeed, Pfizer has followedsuit via the 2007 acquisition of Coley Pharmaceuticals.
Given that the main source of Big Pharma’s growth rate problems stem from generic products rapidlyeroding the sales of their expired products, another strategic option is to make a move into thegenerics business and start to benefit from the patent expiries of other peer’s products. Novartisstands out as the key Big Pharma player to already have a very substantial generics operation(Sandoz). Thus it would not be surprising if Pfizer (or another Big Pharma company facing slowinggrowth) purchased a major generics company. An interesting variant on this option is to make along-term move into generics space with the intention of building a position ready for the ultimatearrival of biosimilars. A major advantage for any would-be biosimilars player would be a proven trackrecord in the branded biologics market, something that a few Big Pharma companies possess.
Moving into the generics business is a dilution of strategic focus away from the traditional model ofinnovative drug discovery, development and marketing and towards a more commoditized businessmodel. Perhaps an even bolder move for Big Pharma companies is to increase their operationsoutside of ‘pharma space’. Many Big Pharma players already have substantial non-pharma operationssuch as medical devices, diagnostics and consumer healthcare. It is therefore a plausible strategyfor Big Pharma companies to increase their focus on such non-pharma activities, indeed GSK hasrecently done this through the acquisition of the consumer healthcare company CNS.
Like most of the Big Pharma peer set, Pfizer is desperately trying to ramp up its oncology presenceand appears to be channeling significant investment into this therapy area. But, like most of the BigPharma peer set, it will be prevented from entering the high growth oncology mAb market becauseRoche has effectively ‘locked out’ any competitors via its acquisition of Genentech.
Enhancement of emerging position in the small molecule targeted cancer market (led by 2006 Sutentapproval)
Pfizer appears to be focusing significant efforts on the development of small molecule targetedcancer therapies. The success of these products will be determined by their ability to demonstratea comparable efficacy to biologics (mAbs in particular) but at a cheaper price and via oral delivery. Pfizer has already secured approval for one drug of this type – Sutent (sunitinib; for renal cellcarcinoma) and will proceed with indication broadening for this drug – and reportedly has 12 othersmall molecule targeted therapies in its R&D pipeline, albeit the majority of these are in early stageclinical trials.
Expiry of Lipitor patent in 2010, combined with over-reliance on this franchise
Pfizer Inc SWOT Analysis
The anticipated loss of patent exclusivity for Lipitor in 2010 will play an integral role in causing Pfizer’sexpiry portfolio to deliver such a significant decline in revenues; exposure to generic competition isforecast to drive an absolute annual sales decline of -$8,664 million for this product franchise alone,equal to 56.1% of Pfizer’s total revenues losses over the period 2006–2012.
Such is the severity of expected generic erosion to the Lipitor franchise, it is questionable as towhether Pfizer would ever have been in a position to fully mitigate the impact of patent expiry in acommercial sense. One could argue that Pfizer will become a victim of its own success, insofar thatthe company has been so successful at expanding revenues for the Lipitor franchise, that the verypopularity of the franchise across the dyslipidemia patient base will ‘feed’ the severity of genericerosion that will undoubtedly be triggered by patent expiry.
Failure of torcetrapib in Phase III clinical trials
The unique nature of Lipitor—with regard to the sheer scale of revenues generated by thisproduct—means that Pfizer would have always faced difficulty in ‘plugging the gap’ left by the statinonce patent expiry occurred. Nevertheless, the company did previously have a CETPinhibitor—torcetrapib—in development as a successor product. While Datamonitor did not hold theview that a successful launch of torcetrapib would fully mitigate the Lipitor ‘patent crunch’, itsmulti-billion dollar sales potential would have certainly blunted the impact of generic erosion. Furthermore, its combination use with Lipitor would have acted as a life cycle management strategyfor Pfizer’s statin. However, Pfizer was forced to terminate Phase III clinical trials of torcetrapib inDecember 2006.
The torcetrapib setback demonstrates that Pfizer had been forced into a high risk strategy, wherebyany substantial bid by the company to offset the impact of generic erosion had become dependenton the success of this Phase III product.
Further M&A activity with rival Big Pharma player would be unlikely to diversify therapeutic/moleculetype offering and add minimal long term benefit
A plausible option for Big Pharma companies to boost profit growth is to merge with one another. While such a move would not address the fundamental strategic issue of being entrenched in thesmall molecule CV/CNS/GI markets it would grant the merged entity the gift of scale. It has alreadybeen shown (Datamonitor, Pharmaceutical Company Outlook to 2011, DMHC2252, December 2006)that as total ethical revenues exceed $30 billion, economies of scale appear to kick-in, leading toEBIT margins significantly above the c.25% average. In addition to economies of scale deliveringprofit growth, there is also the promise of merger-related cost savings through the elimination ofduplicated business operations. Clearly, given their corporate histories, both GSK and Pfizer havea proven track record of selecting this option.
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