Lilly looks to Europe for deals

We all know Eli Lilly has its sights set on China. Just yesteday, CEO John Lechleiter (photo) told an audience in Shanghai that he's shooting for 15 new products in that country within five years. And long before that, Lilly showed just how interested it was in the fast-growing market by announcing sales layoffs in the West--while touting a hiring plan for reps in China.

But where else is Lilly aiming? Lechleiter has pointed to Europe as a focus. Last week, he flew to Germany to talk to officials about plans to cut pharma spending and set controls on drug prices. But he wasn't focused single-mindedly on that issue. He was thinking about expanding beyond German borders, via buyouts or licensing, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Makes sense, as the paper points out; Lilly's European sales declined by 2 percent last year to $5.2 billion. Lechleiter is especially interested in deals in diagnostics, diabetes, and drug delivery. Helpfully, the Journal offers a couple of prospects. First, the drug delivery group Eurand, which also has a few reformulated products in development--market value: $530 million. Second, Merck KGaA's abandoned diabetes assets.

- see the post at the Wall Street Journal's Source blog
- check out WSJ's coverage of Lechleiter's Germany trip