INDIA – Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories announced that it has acquired a portfolio of branded and generic injectable products from US-based Eton Pharmaceuticals, Inc for US$50 million.

Under the terms of the agreement, Dr. Reddy’s will pay US$5 million upfront in cash, plus contingent payments of up to US$45 million.

The acquisition supports Dr. Reddy’s efforts to accelerate and expand affordable medications for patients, the company said in a statement.

The portfolio includes the Biorphen (phenylephrine hydrocholoride) injection and Rezipres (ephedrine hydrochloride) injection NDAs (new drug application) with nine separate combinations of strengths and presentations and one first- to-file approved ANDA for Cysteine Hydrochloride for the US.

The acquisition will complement Dr. Reddy’s US institutional business with limited competition injectable products.

One strength each of Biorphen and Rezipres are currently commercially available in the US. The acquisition will complement Dr. Reddy’s US institutional business with limited competition injectable products.

The value of total addressable market for these products in the US is around US$174 million for the calendar year ending in April 2022 according to IQVIA.

Marc Kikuchi, CEO, North America Generics, Dr. Reddy’s says, “Long before the COVID-19 pandemic, there have been concerns about access to some critical care products for hospitals and health systems.

“This acquisition provides our North America organization with a foundational footprint to help address products that are not always readily available for patients.”

“For these and many other reasons, I believe we are well-positioned to integrate the portfolio and grow the business,” Kikuchi said.

Also, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd said it has entered into a settlement agreement with Indivior Inc and Aquestive Therapeutics as a result of which it will receive payments totaling US$72 million (over Rs 560 crore) by March 31, 2024, according to Business Today.

The said agreement resolves all claims between the parties relating to the company’s generic buprenorphine and naloxone sublingual film, 2 mg/0.5 mg, 4 mg/1 mg, 8 mg/2 mg, and 12 mg/3 mg dosages, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories said in a regulatory filing.

The settlement also covers Indivior’s and Aquestive’s patent infringement allegations and the company’s antitrust counterclaims, it added.

Reliance lobbies banks to raise US$8 Billion for Boots

Meanwhile, Reliance Industries Ltd. is in talks with several global banks to raise as much as US$8 billion for its planned leveraged buyout of Walgreens Boots Alliance’s international arm, according to a report from Mint.

The report, which cited two people familiar with the discussions, said that Reliance is in talks with Barclays Bank Plc, Deutsche Bank AG, HSBC and Standard Chartered Bank to buy the Boots drugstore chain.

A consortium led by Apollo Global Management Inc. and Reliance made a binding offer for Boots earlier this month, valued at more than US$6.1 billion.

The Walgreens Boots Alliance board is likely to meet in the next few days to discuss the potential deal with the consortium, and following that, the Reliance board will meet to approve the proposed takeover, one of the two people told Mint.

Walgreens had been seeking a valuation of about £7 billion (US$8.6 billion) for Boots, Bloomberg News reported earlier.

The business runs a network of more than 2,200 stores across the UK, as well as private-label brands like No7 Beauty Co. and operations in a few other countries.

Further afield, the effects of pharmaceutical company mergers and acquisitions on innovation, industry structure, and relationships with pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs) have become a top priority for the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) as contributing factors to high drug prices.

The FTC announced plans to increase enforcement of PBM rebate and payment practices, as well as its intention to take enforcement action against manufacturers and PBMs that engage in actions that reduce competition and raise consumer costs.

These developments stem from the FTC’s ongoing efforts to evaluate PBM business practices, which resulted in the announcement earlier this month of a formal investigation into the activities of six leading PBMs.

The impact of these middlemen on independent pharmacists and patient access to and expenditures for drugs, particularly insulin, is of particular interest, Pharm Exec reports.

The FTC investigation is centered on the industry’s six largest PBMs: CVS Caremark, Express Scripts, OptumRx, Humana, Prime Therapeutics, and MedImpact Healthcare Systems.

A key question is whether greater vertical integration of these large PBMs with health insurance companies, mail order and specialty pharmacies restrict where patients can buy medicines and how much they must pay at the pharmacy counter.

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