US-based drug maker Pfizer has signed a merger agreement to acquire injectable drugs and infusion technologies provider Hospira for around $17bn.

As part of the deal, Pfizer will pay $90 per share to Hospira, which is a major producer of biosimilars.

Pfizer chairman and CEO Ian Read said: "The proposed acquisition of Hospira demonstrates our commitment to prudently deploy capital to create shareholder value and deliver incremental revenue and EPS growth in the near-term.

"In addition, Hospira’s business aligns well with our new commercial structure and is an excellent strategic fit for our Global Established Pharmaceutical business, which will benefit from a significantly enhanced product portfolio in growing markets."

The deal will provide a growth platform and add a growing revenue stream for Pfizer’s Global Established Pharmaceutical (GEP) business.

Hospira’s expanded portfolio of sterile injectable pharmaceuticals includes acute care and oncology injectables, with a number of differentiated presentations.

"The deal will provide a growth platform and add a growing revenue stream for Pfizer’s GEP business."

The firm’s biosimilars portfolio, along with GEP’s branded sterile injectables, including anti-infectives, anti-inflammatories and cytotoxics, is said to create a leading global sterile injectables business.

Pfizer will also use Hospira’s existing commercial capabilities, global scale, scientific expertise and world class development capabilities to expand the reach of its products.

The products are currently distributed primarily in the US where GEP holds a significant market, as well as Europe and key emerging sectors.

Hospira CEO Michael Ball said: "The Pfizer-Hospira combination is an excellent strategic fit, presenting a unique opportunity to leverage the complementary strengths of our robust portfolios and rich pipelines."

Subject to customary closing conditions, including regulatory approvals in several jurisdictions and approval of Hospira’s shareholders, the deal is expected to be completed in the second half of 2015.

Image: Hospira corporate headquarters in Lake Forest, Illinois. Photo: courtesy of Acherubini2020.