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UCB gets bigger in Brazil with Meizler deal

Joins the ranks of pharma companies buying into Brazilian drug market


UCB has joined the ranks of pharma companies buying into the Brazilian drug market, acquiring a 51 per cent stake in privately-owned Meizler Biopharma.

Commenting on the deal, UCB's chief executive Roch Doliveux said: "Brazil is one of UCB's key markets in which the company did not have a direct presence yet", adding that it is now the seventh-largest drug market in the world.

Meizler was set up in 1990 and focuses on marketing in-licensed pharmaceuticals and medical devices to public and private institutions, hospitals and specialised clinics. 

It has a portfolio of more than 40 products, spanning a range of therapeutic categories including oncology, anaesthesia, cardiovascular and central nervous system drugs, all targeted at institutional rather than pharmacy markets.

The company has also latterly started building up the biologics side of its operations. It already sells influenza vaccines, but has also started a project to build a biomanufacturing facility and has taken the unusual step for a Brazilian firm of embarking on biologics R&D.

Meizler's 2011 revenues were in the region of €36m and the company is profitable, according to UCB, but financial details of the transaction are not being disclosed. However, UCB did say that it may elect to take complete control of the Brazilian company in the future.

The company has grown quickly since its inception, but chief executive Avi Meizler said recently that it had ambitions to become five times larger within the next five years. The deal with UCB "strengthens Meizler Biopharma and brings the advantages of a global biopharmaceutical leader including a strong R&D pipeline of potential new products", he added.

Doliveux said linking with Meizler would provide a conduit for UCB to distribute its current portfolio of products throughout Brazil as well as to launch new products in the country.

As a result of the deal, Meizler will be renamed Meizler UCB Biopharma, said the two firms. The company employs 130 staff and is headquartered in Sao Paulo, with a unit in South Korea via a partnership with GP Pharm International.

Earlier this week, Japan's Takeda announced a deal to buy Brazil's Multilab for $265m, making it one of the top 10 pharmaceutical companies in the country. 

There have been a number of other deals of late involving pharma multinationals; Merck & Co expanded its presence in Brazil via a joint venture with Supera Farma Laboratorios in February, while in 2011 Amgen bought hospital product specialist Bergamo.

Brazil's pharmaceutical market is expected to expand by almost 12 per cent in local currencies this year to reach $27.5bn.

31st May 2012


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