Dr. Reddy's nears launch of Fujifilm venture, CFO says

After announcing the tie-up almost a year ago, India's Dr. Reddy's Laboratories ($RDY) finally expects to ink a joint venture agreement with Fujifilm. The two companies are aiming for Japan's generic-drugs market, which is expected to make great strides as the government pushes broader use of cheaper, copycat meds.

Officials at the Indian generics specialist say they're putting final touches on the JV, to be 51% owned by Fujifilm. The arrangement may include construction of a plant in Japan, where the companies can meld Dr. Reddy's low-cost production approach with Fujifilm's quality control expertise.

But Reddy's CFO Umang Vohra said the new plant isn't a done deal. "We cannot share the finer details as of now," Vohra told the Press Trust of India. "If required we will set up a facility. It depends on the terms of the agreement."

For Dr. Reddy's, the JV offers new access to a key pharma market. If the JV is finalized by June, as Vohra expects, products could hit the market in two years. For Fujifilm, it's another foray into the pharma business, an area the Japanese company has targeted for growth as its primary business--photographic film, chemicals and equipment--declines on the growth of digital imagery. Fujifilm is also jumping into biosimilars--a new, potentially lucrative frontier for copycat drugs--through a deal to buy two Merck ($MRK) manufacturing facilities.

- read the PTI story