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DSM wants a partner that can grow its pharma business in Asia

By Gareth Macdonald

- Last updated on GMT

DSM wants a partner that can grow its pharma business in Asia
DSM wants a partner that can grow its pharma business in Asia
DSM says it has not found the right partner for its pharmaceutical products business and is continuing to look for a collaborator with which it can grow in Asia.

The Dutch life sciences and food ingredients firm made the comments today during a third quarter results presentations in which it revealed that revenue from its pharma business grew 6% to €163m ($219m). The unit’s earnings increased by €8m to €12m.

Company CFO Rolf-Dieter Schwalb​ said: “In the pharma business we have been clear about what we want…we want to go for partnership​” adding that it is too early to say whether it will be a 50:50 agreement like the joint venture DSM set up with Sinochem for its anti-infectives​ business a few years ago.

DSM has been seeking a partner for its pharmaceutical products business for a few years ​as a result of declining sales, in an effort that saw it set up the Sinochem collaborations and wind up its biosimilars joint venture (JV) with Crucell​.

Judging by DSM’s comments today the firm is no closer to finding a parter for the pharma business.

At the end of the day it is always about creating value for the company​” Schwalb continued, adding that “if we were to say here is our pharma business for €1…we would have a partnership today, but that is not a very wise thing to do for the pharma business​.”

He went on to say that it will take time to find the right partner, explaining that: “It could be anywhere in the world​” adding that “we already have a strong position in the US and Europe and we need a partner that is willing and able to go into Asia​.”

No pharma focus for omega-3

Schwalb also confirmed that DSM is not likely to start making pharma-grade omega-3, which is a market that has started to attract a lot of attention from ingredient suppliers after the US Court of appeals rules that patents held by Pronova for the heart pill Lovaza were invalid​.

He said: “We are not in the pharma area for omega-3. We produce grades up to 60-70% but not in the 90% range [required for pharma applications] for which a completely different technology is needed, which is where Pronova is active​.”

Schwalb also rejected that idea that its 2010 acquisition Martek Biosciences – which produces higher grade omega-3 using algae – could allow it to enter the pharma fish oil market and reiterated that the plan is to focus the unit’s activities on dietary supplements.

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