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With Patent for Plavix soon to Retire Bristol Myers acquires Medarex

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With the upcoming patent expiration of Plavix, its largest selling medication, in 2011, Bristol-Myers Squibb has acquired the biotechnology company Medarex for $2.4 billion. Elliot Sigal, the company’s head of research and development, has stated at the panel discussion for Windhover Pharmaceutical strategic Alliances conference in New York that

Almost all Pharmaceutical companies face the same issue of patents expiring, and with it comes a massive loss in revenues when the generic versions come along. "Like everyone else, we have significant drugs coming off patent. We’ve been focused on that for several years," Sigal said.

Bristol Myers is trying to expand its group of drugs in the last stage of either approval or development, and it expects about 35 percent to come from purchases of companies such as Medarex.

Competitors such as Peter Mueller, the head of Research and Development at Vertex Pharmaceuticals has talked of a “disaster” in the pharmaceutical industry as companies come face to face with patents for many of the biggest selling medications falling off and the generics taking over. He stated that "In the next couple of years pharma is under quite a bit of pressure because we are losing altogether about $100 billion (in sales) over the next three years.” Mueller contends that companies should look more into the patient’s needs rather than balance sheet acquisitions.

Pfizer Inc faces the largest patent expiration with Lipitor, the extremely popular cholesterol reducing medication loses its patent at the end of 2011. Lipitor currently provides Pfizer with more than $ 11 billion dollars a year in revenues. The name brand drugs usually lose 60% to 80% of their revenue when a generic equivalent comes to market, even when it is the same company that produces the name brand drug. Pfizer, who took major damage with the issues with Lipitor, purchased Wyeth in a deal that will close later this year.

Mikael Dolsten the Wyeth chief, has promised a quick transition in order to migrate both operations. Martin Mackay, research and development chief for Pfizer said "Between 30 to 60 days after close we will make significant announcements about what areas we’re working in, who’s going to run those areas.”

Mackay is confident that Dolsten would be able to sustain the company’s portfolio with a budget $8 billion, which rivals some city, county and state budgets.

Currently, Pfizer has 23 clinical studies going through stage III phase of development. This includes the new blood clot prevention medication apixaban that Pfizer is partnering with Bristol-Myers. This is the phase that is final development and human studies before submittal to the FDA for approval. The 23 clinical studies include medications from those created internally, and medications that were from other sources. But most major pharmaceutical companies have enough revenues to conduct their own clinical tests and pretty much ensure that their drugs will become FDA approved one way or another.