July 7, 2011 | last updated May 31, 2012 7:34 pm

Pfizer may sell animal health, nutrition units

Pfizer Inc., with drug research operations in Groton, said Thursday it may sell its animal health and nutrition business in the next two years so it can focus on expanding its low-cost pharmaceuticals unit, The Associated Press reports.

Pfizer said it will also consider transactions including spinoffs and may pursue different strategies for each business. The company said any transactions could take one to two years to complete, and it does not expect to provide any further updates until 2012.

The businesses brought Pfizer $5.5 billion in revenue in 2010, about 8 percent of its total. The animal health unit makes vaccines, medicines, diagnostics and other items to prevent and treat diseases in livestock and pets, and the nutrition unit makes infant and pediatric products. Pfizer said the animal health unit reported $3.6 billion in revenue and the nutrition unit had $1.9 billion.

The New York drugmaker said it will focus on its established products business, which makes drugs that are off-patent or are losing patent protection. Sales of those products are growing quickly, particularly in emerging pharmaceutical markets.

Pharmaceutical companies are turning more attention to those emerging markets as growth in larger markets slows down, and as more top-selling drugs lose patent protection. For example, Pfizer's cholesterol drug Lipitor, the world's top-selling drug, loses U.S. patent protection in November.


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