Sanofi seeking entry to Japan's generic drug market

27th May 2010, Comments 0 comments

French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi-Aventis said Thursday it was considering a tie-up with a Japanese partner in an effort to position itself in a fast-growing generic drug market.

"We are interested in the Japanese market for generic drugs and we are currently in discussions with potential partners," chief executive officer Christopher Viehbacher said at a press conference in Tokyo.

He gave no further details, adding: "It is too early to speculate on the investments that we could make."

Earlier Japanese media reported that Sanofi-Aventis would take a nearly five percent stake in leading Japanese generic drug maker Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical for about five billion yen (56 million dollars).

Without citing sources, the Nikkei newspaper said Sanofi-Aventis and Nichi-Iko would also form a joint venture in Japan, with the French group taking a 51-percent stake to develop new generic drugs.

The newspaper said the French company believed the Japanese market was under-developed and had room for significant growth, as the government has failed to promote generic drugs as a way to curb soaring health care costs.

The joint venture will also import Sanofi-Aventis products into Japan for sale, the newspaper said.

© 2010 AFP

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