Pfizer Eyes Generic Growth

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Looks like Pfizer (NYSE: PFE  ) isn't content to sit and wait for the revenue boost that Wyeth (NYSE: WYE  ) will provide once Pfizer swallows it up: The giant drugmaker announced two partnerships to boost the top line today.

Pfizer is teaming up with eye-care specialist Bausch & Lomb to promote both companies' prescription eye drugs. A joint sales force will promote Pfizer's glaucoma drug Xalatan and three of Bausch & Lomb's products -- conjunctivitis treatment Alrex, Lotemax for inflammatory conditions, and Zylet, which treats inflammation and infections. The deal will also include Bausch & Lomb's anti-infective eye drop besifloxacin, if it gets past the Food and Drug Administration.

Pfizer didn't say how the deal was structured financially, but the agreement seems to make sense for Pfizer. The more drugs that sales reps can sell to a doctor, the more effective the company will be, and the additional sales force should help Pfizer compete against Allergan (NYSE: AGN  ) and Alcon (NYSE: ACL  ) in the highly competitive glaucoma space.

The second deal is more of an if-you-can't-beat-them-join-them partnership. If my count is correct, the company is licensing 70 generic products and 12 antibiotics from India's Aurobindo Pharma. I've been skeptical about Pfizer's plan to move further into low-margin generic drugs, but this move doesn't seem that bad.

By licensing the drugs, Pfizer gets to use the distribution channels it already has set up through its subsidiary, Greenstone, which sells generic versions of Pfizer's drugs once they go off patent. But it avoids setting up a massive research and development operation that would be required to compete well against larger players like Novartis (NYSE: NVS  ) and Teva Pharmaceutical (Nasdaq: TEVA  ) .

Pfizer's stock has taken a beating since the company announced that it was buying Wyeth earlier this year. While I'm not ready to jump on the dividends-will-save-you train with Pfizer, it is looking a little more attractive at this lower price, and moves like these have proven that management isn't a complete bunch of numbskulls.

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Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., was in a nouns-are-fun-to-make-into-adjectives-with-hyphens mood when he wrote this. He doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Alcon is a Global Gains pick and Pfizer is an Inside Value pick. The Fool used to own shares of Pfizer. The Fool's disclosure policy has been called many names.

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