Takeda scouts for M&A in India, plots Chinese growth

India and China are on most expansion-minded drugmakers' shopping lists. So, it's not a huge surprise that top Japanese drugmaker Takeda Pharmaceutical is eyeing M&A in India. Nor that it's earmarking $300 million for investment in China.

Takeda is looking for Indian partnership and joint venture opportunities, as Bloomberg reports. It's also looking at buying Indian companies outright, VP Haruhiko Hirate told the news service. The company hasn't reached any "specific agreements" but it's "actively" shopping around, Hirate said. Indian papers said recently Takeda was in talks with HIV-drug specialist Cipla and Lupin about possible deals.

Meanwhile, the Japanese company is also pumping up its operations in China. Takeda is aiming for $1 billion in Chinese sales in four to 5 years. It's in the process of recruiting 650 reps, enough salespeople to more than triple its current force of 250. It's "in the beginning stage" of moving into China's OTC drug market. And it's aiming to expand R&D there, too. "We need to expand, definitely, in a rapid manner," Hirate said.

Takeda's motivation for expanding in these countries is the same as Big Pharma's: Growing generic competition for key branded drugs, as well as pricing pressures in and slowing growth in mature markets. The Japanese company's top-selling drug, the diabetes treatment Actos, faces generic rivals in August 2012, and its current financial forecasts include lower profits over the next several years. So, it has plenty of ground to make up.

- read the Bloomberg coverage