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Pfizer Wins China & Asia-Pacific Rights to Anti-Fungal Drug


Pfizer Inc. PFE announced that it has bought exclusive rights to develop and commercialize Swiss company Basilea Pharmaceutica’s anti-fungal treatment, Cresemba (isavuconazole), in China and other countries in the Asia-Pacific region.

Notably, Cresemba is an intravenous (IV) and oral azole antifungal therapy, presently marketed in the United States as well as the EU for treating two serious infections, invasive aspergillosis and invasive mucormycosis.

Per the deal, Pfizer will be exclusively entitled to distribute and commercialize Cresemba across 16 Asia-Pacific countries and China including Hong Kong and Macao. Significantly, the financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed by the company. However, Pfizer does not own any marketing rights in Japan, which too lies in the Asia-pacific belt.

Shares of the company have risen 11.9% so far this year, underperforming the industry’s rally of 16.5%.

We remind investors that in July, Pfizer bought exclusive commercialization rights to Cresemba in Europe, including Austria, France, Germany, Italy and the United Kingdom where the treatment was already available. Last month, the company launched the drug in Spain and has plans to introduce the medicine to additional European countries in 2018.

However, Pfizer has no marketing rights in the Nordic countries namely, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Iceland or across the United States. Cresemba is marketed by Basilea Pharmaceutica's license partner, Astellas Pharma, in the United States.

It is important to note that the company already enjoys a strong position in the anti-infective space and markets many antifungals like Vfend, Zithromax and Zavicefta, the last one being added to Pfizer’s portfolio with the December 2016 acquisition of AstraZeneca plc's AZN anti-infectives business.

The latest collaboration with Basilea Pharmaceutica strengthens Pfizer’s position in the therapeutic market.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

Pfizer carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Two better-ranked stocks in the health care sector are Corcept Therapeutics Incorporated CORT and Achillion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. ACHN both carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Corcept’s earnings per share estimates have moved up from 77 cents to 88 cents for 2018 over the last 60 days. The company delivered positive earnings surprises in two of the trailing four quarters with an average beat of 14.32%. Share price of the company has skyrocketed 150.7% year to date.

Achillion’s loss per share estimates has narrowed from 66 cents to 63 cents for 2017 and from 75 cents to 67 cents for 2018 over the last 60 days. The company came up with positive earnings surprises in two of the trailing four quarters with an average beat of 4.51%.

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