The Upjohn name could finally disappear from the list of current drug manufacturers, with a major change announced today by parent company Pfizer.   After 133 years, the company started in Kalamazoo by Dr. William E. Upjohn may no longer bear his name.

Pfizer-Upjohn, which has a portfolio of drugs that are no longer protected by patents, including Viagra, Lipitor and Celebrex, will be combined with rival Mylan, which makes EpiPens.  The new $20 billion company will have a new name, yet to be announced.

American Pharmaceutical Company Pfizer Propose To Takeover British AstraZeneca
Getty Images by Christopher Furlong

The move will create a global powerhouse in the low-price drug market, as drug companies feel pressure to serve third-world markets with affordable drugs.

Under the agreement, which is structured as an all-stock deal, each Mylan share would be converted into one share of the new company.  Pfizer shareholders would gain most control of the company with 57% ownership and Mylan shareholders would own the rest.

The management team will include people from Mylan and Upjohn. Mylan's current chairman, Robert Coury, will be its executive chairman and Upjohn's current president, Michael Goettler, will be the CEO. Mylan's current CEO, Heather Bresch, will retire after the deal closes.

Mylan's stock has lost 60% of its value over the past three years.  Two years ago, the company caused public outrage after increasing the cost of EpiPens by 400%.   Now the company has competition after they lost exclusive rights and a generic maker entered the marketplace.  Similarly, Pfizer has lost market share to a new generic version of Viagra.

Other drugs in Pfizer's Upjohn portfolio include anxiety medication Xanax, depression drug Zoloft, and Lipitor, which treats high cholesterol.  Upjohn reported a multimillion drop in sales during the first quarter.


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