Under Pressure: Can Merck Show Cubist Is Worth $9.5 Billion Without Cubicin?
Hours after Merck revealed a merger agreement with Cubist, a court ruled that generic versions of Cubist’s big seller Cubicin can launch in 2016, two years earlier than expected, putting the pressure on Merck to justify the pricey acquisition.
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Merck is one of the few big pharmas still investing in early-stage antibiotic R&D and is focusing long term on novel antibody and small molecule approaches, but Infectious Disease Research VP Daria Hazuda predicts the timeline for delivering innovative breakthroughs will be long.
Teva launched an authorized generic version of Merck’s blockbuster antibiotic, while Pfizer did not provide an update on the timeline of a generic launch for which a court decision paved the way.
AstraZeneca is selling its late-stage small molecule antibiotics business to Pfizer in a deal that could reach more than $1.5bn, but the company – one of just a few big pharmas working in antibiotics R&D – says it will continue to study novel antibiotics via its MedImmune biologics division.