Watson to Acquire Arrow for $1.75 Billion

June 25, 2009
Patricia Van Arnum

Patricia Van Arnum was executive editor of Pharmaceutical Technology.

ePT--the Electronic Newsletter of Pharmaceutical Technology

Generic-drug and specialty pharmaceutical manufacturer Watson Pharmaceuticals (Corona, CA) agreed to acquire the generic-drug company Arrow Group for $1.75 billion in cash and stock.

Generic-drug and specialty-pharmaceutical manufacturer Watson Pharmaceuticals (Corona, CA) agreed to acquire the generic-drug company Arrow Group for $1.75 billion in cash and stock. The deal provides Watson with an expanded product portfolio, increased penetration in emerging markets, and a manufacturing platform for generic biologics.

“The acquisition of Arrow will mark a significant milestone in realizing our strategic vision to expand our global footprint and leverage our assets across many developed and emerging markets around the world,” said Paul Bisaro, president and CEO of Watson, in a company press release. Arrow has manufacturing facilities in Canada, Malta, and Brazil and a research and development facility in Australia. Arrow operates as Arrow Generics in the United Kingdom, Cobalt Pharmaceuticals in the United States and Canada, and Arrow Génériques in France. A map of the company’s operations is provided here

The combined company will have annual sales of approximately $3 billion. Arrow had 2008 sales of $647 million and employs 1000 people worldwide. The company markets more than 100 drugs in 20 countries and expects to launch 40 new products during the next three years, according to Watson. A key prize from Arrow is exclusive US rights to launch in November 2011 the authorized generic version of Lipitor (atorvastatin), Pfizer’s (New York) top-selling drug. The drug had global sales of $13.7 billion and US sales of $7.8 billion in 2008, according to IMS Health.

Arrow also owns a 36% stake in Eden Biodesign (Liverpool, England), a contract biologics manufacturer. Watson said that Eden provides it with operational expertise and manufacturing capabilities to support its long-term investment in generic biologics. Last week, Eden extended its joint marketing relationship with Selexis (Geneva), which provides contract development and maintenance of mammalian-cell lines.  

The boards of directors of both Watson and Arrow have approved the transaction. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions, including review by antitrust authorities.