Teva taps S. Korea's Handok for assault on $14B market

Teva CEO Jeremy Levin.

Last week, Teva ($TEVA) CEO Jeremy Levin promised that his company would conquer new markets around the globe. Now, Teva says it's taking its first step toward expanding in Asia.

After months of rumors about a deal in South Korea, the Israeli drugmaker says it's teaming up with domestic drugmaker Handok to tackle that market. Teva will own 51% of the joint venture, and it will handle manufacturing and supply. Handok will deal with regulators, plus market and distribute the J.V.'s products.

Among the first Teva drugs to make its debut in South Korea will be Copaxone, the multiple sclerosis treatment. To come: "A wide range of affordable and innovative medicines," a.k.a. generics and brands. The former will be "branded generics," the typical approach for major drugmakers in emerging markets such as South Korea.

"This is another significant step in our strategy to expand Teva's presence in growing markets, and excluding Japan, this is our first alliance in East Asia," said Itzhak Krinsky, Teva's Asia Pacific business development chief and chairman of Teva South Korea, adding that the two companies "plan to assume a prominent position in the Korean pharmaceutical market." 

Of course they do; South Korea is among the faster-growing drug markets, with $14 billion in annual spending. A recent report from IMS Health pegged growth in the country at 2% to 5% through 2016, which isn't nearly so impressive as the rates in emerging markets, but beats forecasts for every other developed market.

- see the release from Teva
- read the Reuters story

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