Sun Pharma seeks to enter Japan generics market

Tags: Companies
Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, India's biggest drugmaker by market value, is looking for partnerships or acquisitions to enter Japan, an especially lucrative market for manufacturers of low-cost drugs, a senior executive said.

Politicians are lobbying for more generic drugs to go on sale in Japan to bring down healthcare costs for a rapidly ageing population.

Indian pharmaceutical firms are the world's biggest manufacturers of generics, but Lupin Ltd is the only Indian drugmaker that has so far made significant inroads in Japan.

"At an intent level, we would like to participate in the Japanese generic market. But we are still thinking through as to what's the best way to participate," Uday Baldota, senior vice president for finance and accounts at Sun, told Reuters.

"It could be a partnership, or an acquisition. We haven't really narrowed down the specific way of doing it."

Mumbai-based Sun gets more than half its sales from the United States, the world's biggest pharmaceuticals market.

Sun has expanded in the last few years, mainly through acquisitions, and Baldota said the company was on the look out for more purchases. He declined to give details, however.

"We will do acquisitions and remain keen to do acquisitions, but it's not necessary for us to do an acquisition just to grow our business," Baldota said. "We feel comfortable doing large deals. That is not something that will deter us."

Sun was said to be in talks last year to buy speciality drugmaker Aptalis from private equity firm TPG Capital. In January, Forest Laboratories Inc agreed to buy Aptalis for $2.9 billion.

Sun's talks in the same year to buy Swedish drugmaker Meda, a maker of speciality products, over-the-counter drugs and branded generics, foundered on valuation, sources with direct knowledge had told Reuters.

In 2012, Sun bought U.S.-based Dusa Pharmaceuticals Inc for about $230 million, as well as URL Pharma from Japan's Takeda Pharmaceutical Co for an undisclosed amount - boosting its growth and market share in the United States.

Sun also sought to take full control of its U.S.-listed Israeli unit Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (TARO.N), but the deal was terminated last year after a long-drawn battle.

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