Generics hot up: Cipla in talks with Big Pharma; Takeda mulls M&As

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Pharmaceutical industry

India’s Cipla is in talks with a number of global pharma players, including Pfizer, about potential generics supply deals.

Cipla managing director Amar Lulla told Reuters ​that while talks are ongoing, as yet, no deals have been made and did not give any timescale on the likelihood of any such agreements.

The discussions fit with Big Pharma’s increasing focus on generics that, this year alone, has seen Sanofi Aventis acquire Laboratorios Kendrick and Medley, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) buy shares in Aspen Pharmacare and Novartis​ purchase Ebewe Pharma’s non-branded injectables unit.

Most recently, GSK formed a pact with India's Dr Reddy’s, focused on supplying non-branded drugs to emerging markets.

Cipla’s price on the Mumbai exchange rose around 3 per cent to 328.70 rupees on confirmation of the potential deals.

Japanese potential

That Pfizer is mentioned specifically could also be significant given that, just yesterday the US major confirmed its plan to enter Japan’s generics market.

Cipla, which observers suggest would supply manufacturing capacity for the US major if any deal does emerge, could benefit significantly from the Japanese plans.

However, one firm that would disagree with this sentiment is Japan's biggest drugmaker Takeda. In a statement, also issued yesterday, the Tokyo firm said that, while it is considering boosting its presence in the non-branded drugs sector through M&A, it is not interested in selling such drugs in Japan.

Takeda CEO Yasuchika Hasegawa told Reuters ​that the firm may look at buying its way into the generics sectors in key emerging markets, highlighting South America as an important potential target.

"To get the entrance ticket for emerging countries we might acquire the company who has a significant generic presence in those targeted areas​."

Hasegawa did not say why Japan was not a focus. However, given the generics sector's size, just 6 per cent according to Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare (MHLW) data, the recent acquisition of Ranbaxy by rival Daiichi Sankyo and, now, the imminent entry of Pfizer it may be that Takeda thinks competition will be too strong.

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