Shakeup at Canada's Largest Pharma Firm Apotex

March 17, 2015

By Alex Keown, Breaking News Staff

TORONTO – Apotex Inc., Canada's largest pharmaceutical company, announced Tuesday is will be shaking up its leadership structure with a realignment to provide an establishment of three core lines of business – generics, specialty pharma and active pharmaceutical ingredients.

The new three-legged platform realignment will allow the company to improve customer focus and better capitalize on emerging opportunities, said Jeremy B. Desai, president and chief executive officer of Apotex. Each division will receive its own president, who will report to Desai. The three appointments are effective April 1, according to a company release.

Apotex tapped Jeff Watson, currently president of U.S. and Canada Commercial, to lead the global generics division. That division will be responsible for the delivery of generics stemming from Apotex and third party drugmakers.

The global specialty pharma division will be lead by Steve Lydeamore, currently chief business officer and managing director. That division will be responsible for the development and manufacture of biosimilars made by Apotex or third-party drugmakers.
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Keshava Murthy will continue to lead the global active pharmaceutical ingredients division. The API division will be responsible for delivering those ingredients to Apotex as well as sales of those ingredients to other drugmakers.

"The three principal objectives with this new model are to focus all of Apotex on a core strategy aligned with our global customers, improve our capabilities in all disciplines and areas, and work together with greater collaboration and agility around common goals," Desai said.

Apotex is the largest Canadian owned pharmaceutical company with over 10,000 employees globally and with estimated sales of approximately $2 billion. With its worldwide manufacturing sites, Apotex can produce up to 24 billion dosages per year. It produces 300 medicines in 4,000 dosages and formats that are exported to 115 countries. It has 500 products under development and will spend $2 billion over the next 10 years on research and development.

Last month The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning letter to Apotex over manufacturing violations at a plant in Bangalore, India. In its letter the FDA said lab workers failed to ensure that laboratory records included complete data derived from all tests necessary to assure compliance with established specifications and standards. The FDA also said the lab workers failed to establish appropriate procedures to prevent bacteria from developing. Apotex was also forced to recall more than 65,000 bottles of blood pressure medication made at the Bangalore plant after testing discovered impurities in the medication.

In December the FDA announced it had accepted an Apotex application for pegfilgrastim, a biosimilar version of Amgen (AMGN)'s Neulasta, which had $3.6 billion in sales in 2013. Filgrastim is used to help cancer patients taking chemotherapies fight infections and fever by boosting white blood cell counts.