Sanofi eyes emerging market buyouts beyond the BRICs

Sanofi boss Chris Viehbacher isn't limiting his global drug giant's emerging market opportunities to China and India--or any of the four BRIC countries for that matter. In an interview with Bloomberg, the Sanofi CEO made it known that he sees growth opportunities in spots such as Colombia, Indonesia and Vietnam.

Emerging markets have grown in importance at the Paris-based drug giant ($SNY) during Viehbacher's tenure, serving as one of several business-expansion efforts along with novel medicines for diabetes and other ailments, vaccines, animal and consumer health products, as Bloomberg reported. With major investments already made or under way in BRIC countries, such as Brazil and China, expansion in other emerging markets could be in the Big Pharma outfit's future.

Viehbacher sees opportunities such as buyouts and partnerships in places such as Colombia and Vietnam as bargains in more mature growth markets like China become less plentiful. China, in fact, is having its own economic issues after years of double-digit growth, a sign that the country's economy is maturing. As Bloomberg reports, Chinese officials are scrambling to keep the economy humming as they face growth numbers not seen since 1990.

"I am confident, in the long term, on the growth outlook for China," Viehbacher said, as quoted by the news service. "We are moving from made in China to created and discovered in China. It's just a normal part of an economic development process that as wages rise, companies have to seek higher value out of the industries."

Viehbacher knows all about the challenges of growth in mature economies. Back home in France, Sanofi plans to axe around 2,000 workers as the company faces generic competition to top-seller Plavix and amid an economic recession in Europe. And U.S. and European healthcare payers have been pushing for lower prices on branded drugs. This forced Sanofi to think carefully about the $45,000 price tag for its newly U.S.-approved MS drug Aubagio.

- check out Bloomberg's article

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