Teva CEO wants to hook up with Brazil, China partners

Teva CEO Jeremy Levin

What's on Teva Pharmaceutical Industries CEO Jeremy Levin's latest to-do list? Expand in Brazil and China. The two emerging markets, among the fastest-growing in the world, offer plenty of opportunity for the generics giant to build its drug portfolio, Levin figures.

"We look to expand our geographic footprint where we feel that there are markets that we're not present in," Levin said at the Canaccord Genuity investment conference (as quoted by Globes), "And you should know we're not present in places like Brazil in any meaningful way. We're not present yet in the large expanding markets of China in any meaningful way."

Teva ($TEVA) isn't alone, of course. Despite challenges--like the current crackdown on corruption and pricing in China, and an economic slowdown in Brazil--other major drugmakers still want a piece of those markets. But most have been working at it for years. In fact, Novo Nordisk ($NVO) and Bayer have been in China for decades. And Sanofi ($SNY), for instance, bought its Brazilian business in 2009 (and has since run into trouble, but that's another story). Amgen ($AMGN) snapped up a Brazilian drugmaker, Bergamo, in 2011.

Perhaps that's why Levin sees Teva's role as a partner in China and Brazil. He doesn't want to lever in by doing large deals; buying up revenue "is no longer our strategy," he said. Improving Teva's product portfolio is. "What I'm looking for is the right partners to work for," he said.

Since taking over as Teva CEO last year, Levin has been under pressure to jump-start growth. He's been cutting costs, streamlining manufacturing and casting about for deals. And the pressure is growing: Thanks to a recent court decision, the company could face generic competition for its flagship multiple sclerosis drug, Copaxone, next May rather than in 2015. Teva says it will appeal.

- read the Globes story

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