Sanofi seeking entry to Japan's generic drug market
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