By Shelley Jazowski
Over the past twenty years, “blockbuster” drugs have been the consistent drivers of pharmaceutical company sales and profits. Products, such as Lipitor and Plavix, have become synonymous not only with billions in annual global sales, but also have become proven, trusted medications for physicians and patients. In the coming years, many of these “stalwarts” have or will lose patent protection, thus adversely impacting the bottom line of pharmaceutical companies. In response to approaching the “patent cliff,” the pharmaceutical industry has turned to increased mergers and acquisitions (M&A) to guarantee revenue through sales of newly acquired drugs, as well as future profits from a renewed pipeline. Although M&A has been the hallmark of the drug development and manufacturing industry, companies are seeking new methods to replenish pipelines and secure profits, starting with the development of new chemicals entities (NCEs) and pharmaceutical ingredients.