Dr. Reddy's says pick a partner to dance with Japan on pharma trade

Whatever the India government may be doing to foster pharma trade with Japan, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories ($RDY) feels it has a better way: partner with Japan counterparts.

Presumably it will not entail forming a joint venture with Fujifilm.

Headed down a new path, Dr. Reddy's is still struggling with the U.S. FDA to clear its production plant that it likely would rely on to produce the bulk drugs it would supply to a Japan partner to develop and market.

G.V. Prasad

"We are looking at product-specific partnerships there," CEO and co-chairman G.V. Prasad told the Press Trust of India. "We don't intend to do direct presence there."

Although the venerable India company reported its U.S. revenues passed the $1 billion mark, it is still struggling with the U.S. FDA to clear its Srikakulam API plant, which could be a key factor in finding a Japan partner, considered almost a necessity to enter its market.

Prasad did not elaborate on his plan for Japan, but Dr. Reddy's has been down that partnership path in Japan before. It involved forming a joint venture with Fujifilm with exclusive rights to develop and market the India firm's generics drugs in Japan.

Two years after signing a 2011 agreement to that effect, Fujifilm announced the deal was off, but neither side said why. Prasad said at the time the generics pact was over, but suggested the parting of ways affected only the generics business.

Since then, Dr. Reddy's built up a pipeline of drugs to offer a potential partner to bring to market. And the company continues to seek mid-size acquisitions, Prasad said. It also has expanded into the biosimilars field to the extent that Prasad forecast a 2018 launch of the company's first, which he did not identify.

As for the Srikakulam plant, he said the firm had complied with everything the U.S. FDA complained about in an inspection last November, but still has not heard from the agency about next steps.

- here are stories from NDTV and Business Today