India's Marksans Pharma buys U.S.-based Time-Cap, a trend in the making?

More than a few analysts and company executives are watching Indian drug companies in expectations of consolidation among smaller players and possibly daring moves by mid-cap and larger at home and abroad.

The latest deal saw smaller company Marksans Pharma buy New York-based Time-Cap Laboratories to get a toehold in the key U.S. market with financial details not revealed, according to the Business Standard newspaper.

Like several of the smaller drugmakers in India, Marksans does not lack ambition, listing its business scope on its website as over-the-counter and prescription drugs "that have wide-ranging applications across fields like oncology, gastroenterology, antidiabetic, antibiotics, cardiovascular, pain management, gynecology, among others."

Companies such as Lupin, Cipla and of course India's top drugmaker Sun Pharmaceutical Industries have all expressed the desire to grow through acquisitions even as the U.S. FDA keeps up pressure on manufacturing quality to allow them to sell into the world's top generics market.

But as a recent Reuters story pointed out, small to medium-sized Indian companies without deep pockets face crash decisions on either trimming down, merging or making acquisitions.

That makes deals like Marksans Pharma's purchase of Time-Cap--which makes more than 50 unique products from its New York facility, including tablets, caplets, capsules and pellets--of interest. The company has revenues north of $30 million.

It's not the big pharma buy frenzy seen among multinationals, but it does show that consolidation and change worldwide are in the air.

- here's the story from Business Standard
- and the BSE release (PDF)