Sandoz plots launches, M&A in new markets

In more generics action today, Sandoz CEO Jeff George said his company plans to launch six more copycat meds in Japan this year, bringing its total in that country to 13 for 2009. And between now and 2014, Sandoz aims to sell at least 10 new drugs every year, he said.

What's more, the company says it may buy other companies to aid its push into "emerging generics markets," essentially countries where generic drugs aren't yet widely used, leaving room for Sandoz to expand substantially. These markets include Japan--as Sandoz's plans for that country would indicate--as well as France and Italy. In Japan's case, Bloomberg notes, generics made up only 18 percent of drug sales over the twelve months ended March 31. By contrast, generics account for 63 percent of drugs prescribed in the U.S.

One of Sandoz's current Japanese releases is its recombinant human growth hormone somatropin, the first biosimilar to win approval in that country. That drug already has been a groundbreaking biosimilar in the E.U., the U.S., and Australia.

"From the emerging markets perspective, there are a number of markets where we don't have the presence we would like to have," George said during a group interview in Tokyo (as quoted by Bloomberg). In some places, the company plans to expand existing operations; in others it will look to M&A for growth.

- read the Sandoz release
- check out the story from Bloomberg