September 21, 2023: Philip Morris may soon sell a stake in Vectura Group.
Philip Morris, known for producing Marlboro cigarettes, ventured into the healthcare and wellness sector in 2021 by acquiring Vectura, a U.K.-based pharmaceutical company specializing in inhaled medicines and inhaler devices.
However, the healthcare division has faced recent challenges, prompting discussions with Deutsche Bank about various options to enhance it.
The company actively seeks ways to bolster Vectura, considering different strategies, including licensing or royalties’ agreements, commercial partnerships, or the potential sale of a majority or minority stake.
Philip Morris has expanded its presence in healthcare with acquisitions such as Fertin Pharma, a nicotine gum manufacturer, and OtiTopic, a respiratory drugmaker, collectively exceeding $2 billion in investments. These moves align with the company’s long-term shift toward developing smoke-free products and medications to address smoking-related respiratory conditions.
However, these acquisitions have faced criticism from the public health sector. In the year’s second quarter, Philip Morris incurred a $680 million impairment charge related to its wellness and healthcare division.
The initial goal of generating at least $1 billion in net revenues from these products by 2025 has been revised due to setbacks, leading the company to reduce investments in the division.
During its Q2 earnings call, Philip Morris expressed its commitment to developing its wellness and healthcare business and emphasized plans to accelerate Vectura’s growth through potential partnerships.
These moves come when the tobacco industry faces resistance from public health groups, as demonstrated by recent events involving Philip Morris and its CEO’s appearance at the Concordia Annual Summit, a side event to the United Nations General Assembly meeting, which faced protests from health experts.