Kirin aims to double its drug biz

When Kirin Holding said last week that it would like to beef up its pharma business, it wasn't kidding. The Japanese brewer says it's aiming to double its drug profits by 2010. First step: A possible acquisition of Kyowa Hakko Kogyo, in a deal that could reach $2.6 billion. Kyowa and Kirin are both known for their antibody drugs, a company spokesman said. And Kirin Pharma would like to make these drugs into its "pillar business," according to the spokesman.

Backing out of the beer business and into pharma--at a time when global drug makers face big challenges left and right? Kirin's management might be really prescient; Japan's population is aging fast, and domestic regulatory hurdles are high. Or maybe the execs have been drinking a little too much of their own product.

- take a look at the San Diego Union-Tribune report

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