Lilly CEO: No need for megadeals, we have Japan

Eli Lilly ($LLY) chief John Lechleiter (photo) is once again assuring the world that his company will make it through the shadowy valley that follows its patent cliff. In Tokyo, the CEO told Dow Jones that the next few years will be a trial, but after that, growth will come. And just in case we didn't hear it the first half-dozen times, he reminds us that Lilly doesn't need a megamerger to make that happen.

"The investments we are making now are geared to put the company back on a growth trajectory following the end of this period, which we peg as the point at which we lose the (anti-depressant drug) Cymbalta patent in 2013," Lechleiter told Dow Jones. Its blockbuster antipsychotic goes off patent in the U.S. later this year.

While Lilly intends to continue making small deals and alliances, he said, forget about a megadeal. "We still see no need for large-scale mergers and acquisition activity," Lechleiter told the news service. "We don't believe large deals in the industry have been more productive than developing our research capability."

Lechleiter cited "several anti-cyclical growth drivers," including its presence in Japan. Lilly has targeted that country for big growth, counting on Japan's rising need for healthcare to counteract any downward pressures on government spending. "We have reasons to believe that this can be a very important growth opportunity for us for the remainder of the decade," he noted.

- read the coverage in the Wall Street Journal