Pfizer amps up R&D partnering activity in China and India

A day after Pfizer ($PFE) inked a deal with a joint venture partner in China to develop new generic drugs, the pharma giant is spreading the word that it's in the hunt for local drug development partners in the fast-growing Asian marketplace.

Dr. Richard Cornell, Pfizer's Asian R&D exec, said the Big Pharma outfit is actively exploring more tie-ups with Indian biotechs. "Oncology is where there is a massive medical need and there is a significant breakthrough in science," Cornell said, as quoted by the The Economic Times. "Indian companies are very strong in bio-chemistry and so we are looking for partners here."

Pfizer announced Monday it will work with Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical, investing $250 million in a branded generics venture which will be 51% owned by the Chinese partner. Barclay's Jason Mann gave his nod to the tie-up, noting Zhejiang Hisun is a big manufacturer of active ingredients in China, giving Pfizer an edge in advancing new products acceptable to Chinese regulatory authorities.

"We are exploring business development opportunities, including partnerships with local companies that allow us to successfully expand into the generics segment of the market," a Pfizer spokesman told Reuters.

Pfizer's made it clear for some time it sees a big future for itself in Asia's emerging markets. More than a year ago the pharma company tied up with India's Biocon on a deal to develop insulin generics. Pfizer paid Biocon $200 million upfront for the opportunity to pair up with the Indian company.

- read the press release on the Asian JV
- get the story from The Economic Times on oncology pacts
- and here's the Reuters story