Big Pharma aren't the only ones looking to leap into the Chinese drug market. Smaller drugmakers also aim to profit off that country's growth. Witness Nycomed's new $210 million deal for a majority stake in Guangdong Techpool Bio-Pharma, which makes protein-based biotech drugs for sale in China and several other countries, including Japan and South Korea.
Nycomed has been in a deal-minded mood over the last couple of years, beginning with a bid last spring to sell itself for $13 billion-plus. The company then decided to pursue an IPO instead. It made a bid for Solvay's pharmaceuticals unit, but ended up losing that deal to Abbott Laboratories. The prevailing wisdom has been that Nycomed needs to beef itself up a bit to make an IPO work.
So, now there's Techpool. Nycomed chief Hakan Bjorklund says the deal will not only strengthen the company's business in China, but Techpool will also be a "cornerstone of our international expansion into emerging markets." The two companies will operate separately in China, but will work together "through various forms of alliances," the company explains in a statement, focusing on five key brands, including Ulinastatin, a sepsis treatment, and Kallikrein, a stroke-treatment drug. Nothing in the release about an impending IPO, but time will tell.