Move will boost company’s aim to become major generics player in Japan.

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Kowa Company’s Japanese joint venture, Teva-Kowa Pharma, is to acquire a majority stake in Japanese generics specialist Taisho Pharmaceutical Industries. 

Teva-Kowa plans to purchase at least 66.7% of Taisho’s outstanding shares as part of its move to enhance its position in the Japanese generics market. The company says that buying a majority interest in Taisho will serve as a springboard for operations in the country.

Taisho’s portfolio includes over 200 generic medicines. The company also operates a finished-dosage manufacturing facility and has R&D capabilities. The firm reported total net sales of ¥129.76 million (about $1.42 million) in the six months ending September 30, 2009. Sales by the company’s self-medication group (OTC drugs, functional foods, and other products) were ¥81.6 million (roughly $0.89 million). Sales by its prescription pharmaceuticals group were ¥48.1 million (approximately $0.52 million).

Estimates suggest Japan is the second largest pharmaceutical market in the world, valued at some $80 million. According to data by IMS and the Japanese Generics Manufacturing Association, however, in 2006, generics represented just 5.7% of the market or 16.9% in terms of volume. In 2007, the Japanese government announced plans to double generics utilization to 30% by 2012.

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