Lilly’s Lechleiter Says He’s Uninterested in Pfizer Units

Drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) doesn’t plan to buy Pfizer Inc. (PFE)’s $3.58 billion animal-health business, Chief Executive Officer John Lechleiter said.

Pfizer CEO Ian Read said July 7 that he would seek to divest the animal health and nutrition units of the world’s largest drugmaker. Lilly Chief Financial Officer Derica Rice said in July the Indianapolis-based company was interested in some Pfizer assets, and Pfizer said it wouldn’t break any into smaller pieces to sell.

“We don’t think we have to make a large acquisition,” Lilly’s Lechleiter said today in an interview at Bloomberg’s Innovation and the Economy roundtable in Washington. “In our animal-health business, we’ve got a pretty good mix of organic growth and growth from smaller acquisitions. I think that’s the approach we’re going to take.”

Lilly also isn’t interested in New York-based Pfizer’s nutrition business, Lechleiter said.

“We’re going to more or less stay the course with innovative medicines,” he said. “I don’t think you should expect us to do anything around generics or OTC or things of that sort” referring to over-the-counter medicines. Pfizer’s unit generated $1.87 billion in revenue in 2010.

Lechleiter was among more than a dozen chief executive officers and university presidents discussing job creation and the economy today at the Bloomberg forum.

Pfizer shares gained 39 cents, or 2.2 percent, to $17.98 at 4 p.m. in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. Lilly gained 30 cents, or less than 1 percent, to $37.03.

Joan Campion, a Pfizer spokeswoman, said no decisions have been made about the drugmaker’s units.

“We’re continuing to explore strategic alternatives for our animal-health business, and are evaluating a variety of options including a sale, spinoff or other transaction,” she said in an e-mail. Campion said the company doesn’t anticipate making an announcement on the units until 2012.

To contact the reporter on this story: Drew Armstrong in Washington at darmstrong17@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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