Japan's Eisai surprises with API move

Tokyo-based Eisai said it will start selling active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) to domestic generic makers and will invest "tens of millions of dollars" to scale up production at its India plant in Andhra Pradesh. The company told Nikkei News that it will double capacity at the plant to 60 tons a year with its new production coming online by the end of 2017. Eisai said the lines will mainly produce bulk drug ingredients for cholesterol and allergy treatments. Eisai said in the report it hopes to generate "billions of yen" a year by 2020 with the bulk drug sales. Eisai is making the move as Japan works to cut its national healthcare expenses by focusing on using generic drugs. Nikkei News reported that Japan's market for APIs is now worth 120 billion yen ($1.04 billion) with Japanese companies accounting for about 30-40% of the market and European companies accounting for about 20%. Eisai feels the Indian plant will allow it to be price competitive and cut reliance on other low-cost providers from other countries like South Korea and China. Report