Pfizer has hit the acquisitions trail again, if somewhat gently, by entering into an agreement to buy BioRexis Pharmaceutical Corp, a privately-held biopharmaceutical company based near Philadelphia, for an undisclosed sum.

By buying BioRexis, Pfizer is getting access to “a number of diabetes candidates” plus a novel technology platform for developing new protein drug candidates and David Shedlarz, the pharmaceutical giant’s vice chairman, said that the acquisition is “a further step in Pfizer's strategy to accelerate our business development and licensing activity while ensuring appropriate operational and financial discipline." Cost-cutting is very much the order of the day at Pfizer after the firm announced a restructuring strategy that will lead to the loss of 10,000 jobs.

BioRexis is developing long-acting GLP-1 receptor agonists for the potential treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes and the companies said that early studies with these compounds support their potential to advance new treatment options. The acquistion is expected to close during the first or second quarter of this year.

Fresh Norvasc patent win

Meantime, Pfizer has prevailed again in its US patent dispute with Synthon of the Netherlands concerning the former’s anti-hypertensive blockbuster Norvasc (amlodipine).

A US District Court found that Synthon obtained by “inequitable conduct” two US patents alleged to cover a process and an intermediate compound used to make the active ingredient in Norvasc. It also issued a ruling that Synthon knowingly withheld from the US Patent Office certain Pfizer publications and other information that described the aforementioned process.

In the case, Synthon had charged that the process Pfizer uses to manufacture Norvasc infringed the Dutch firm’s patents issued in 2003 and 2005, but the New York-based behemoth responded by noting that it has used the process for 15 years.

In August 2006, Pfizer won another court judgment in the dispute that one of the two patents at issue was not infringed by and was invalid, principally because it was based on Pfizer's prior published work. Norvasc has lost patent protection in a number of markets around the world but is still Pfizer's second-largest product, with sales of $1.32 billion in the fourth quarter of 2006 of this year mainly coming from the US market.