The legacy of Upjohn
Solving the burden of noncommunicable diseases with an iconic portfolio
Born out of Pfizer’s Established Medicines division, Upjohn was created as a standalone business in 2018 within Pfizer. Its mission was to relieve the burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) with trusted, quality medicines for every patient, everywhere.
With a rapidly expanding global middle class across emerging markets, particularly in Asia, and an enhanced focus on quality and affordable healthcare by policymakers worldwide, there had never been a more pressing time to focus on addressing the rising public health impact of NCDs. Michael Goettler was tapped to lead the new business, bringing with him more than two decades of industry experience, including a number of senior leadership roles at Pfizer.
Upjohn was set up to act with speed and flexibility, backed by a solid foundation and strong Pfizer legacy of quality, compliance and reliability. Its distinct and fully dedicated manufacturing, marketing and regulatory functions enabled Upjohn to operate as a true standalone business within Pfizer.
Upjohn’s world-class commercial, manufacturing and medical expertise was underpinned by a fast, focused and flexible culture that empowered the team to take action, to focus on what matters most and deliver on commitments while remaining dynamic, open-minded and creative.
At the heart of everything Upjohn did were its patients, its people and the quality of its business. These were the cornerstones of the company’s efforts to build a healthier world for everyone.
Leadership in emerging markets and China
Upjohn’s deeply rooted belief that everyone deserves good health powered the company’s efforts to find scalable, feasible and effective ways to better patients’ lives. Despite significant medical advancements in the prevention and treatment of chronic conditions, NCDs, like cardiovascular disease, continue to be the leading causes of death and disability globally, particularly in emerging markets. To conquer these challenges, Upjohn had the portfolio, experience and expertise to make this belief a reality.
Key to this success was the strength of Upjohn’s portfolio, which included complex generics and biosimilars, and harnessed the power of some of the world’s most recognized brands, including CELEBREX® (celecoxib capsules), DILANTIN® (extended phenytoin sodium capsules, USP), LIPITOR® (atorvastatin calcium), LYRICA® (pregabalin) and VIAGRA® (sildenafil citrate) – category-leading products across cardiovascular, pain, mental health and urology therapeutic areas.
Building a healthier world for everyone – and delivering better outcomes for patients – is Upjohn’s legacy. By marrying its global footprint and the resources of a world-class multinational with the mindset of a startup, the business was set to anticipate change and capture growth opportunities.
The birth of Viatris
In July 2019, the creation of a new company combining Mylan with Upjohn was announced. Together, their strengths offered a unique and powerful platform to change healthcare in ways that hadn’t been realized before.
Mylan brought a diverse portfolio across many geographies and key therapeutic areas as well as a robust pipeline, high quality manufacturing and supply chain excellence. Upjohn brought trusted, iconic brands and proven commercialization capabilities, including leadership positions in China and other emerging markets. Upjohn’s focus on noncommunicable diseases paired nicely with Mylan’s long history of fighting infectious disease. Combining the two complementary businesses would transform and accelerate the ability of each to serve patients’ needs and expand the companies’ capabilities across more than 165 markets.
Named Viatris, the Mylan-Upjohn combination starts life committed to empowering people to live healthier at every stage of life with some 38,000 employees worldwide, and a sustainable, diverse and differentiated product line and pipeline. Perhaps most important, Viatris has a powerful combination of best-in-class capabilities and world-class management from its founding companies, charting the company’s course for the next decade and beyond: Robert J. Coury as executive chairman, Michael Goettler as chief executive officer, Rajik Malik as president and Sanjeev Narula as chief financial officer.
A path to success
The new company’s name is rooted in Latin and embodies a vision of providing a path (“VIA”) to three (“TRIS”) critical goals: expanding access to medicines, leading by innovating to meet patient needs, and being a trusted partner for the healthcare community worldwide.
If past is prologue, then the future of Viatris is bright, as it embarks on its new journey to increase access to important medicines for patients who need them around the world.
*Not all of the products mentioned on Viatris.com have been approved for use in all countries. To learn which products have been approved for use in a particular country, please visit that country’s page for a full listing of available drug products.