Fujifilm teams with Dr Reddy's on Japanese generics

Fujifilm said it wanted to expand further into the pharma business, and now it has. The Japanese conglomerate has set up a new joint venture with Indian generics maker Dr Reddy's. The two companies will develop copycat meds for sale in Japan, where the government is pushing hard to increase generics use. 

The joint venture will hit the ground running, aiming to launch its first generic products by 2014, to take advantage of a rising wave in Japan's generics sales. The government has set a target of 30% generics utilization by March 2013; current utilization runs at about 23%. Fujifilm will own 51% of the deal, with the remaining 49% held by Dr Reddy's. It's the second drug-related deal this year for the Japanese company; it agreed to buy Merck's BioManufacturing Network in February.

Of course, the J.V. won't lack for competition. Japan's generics pledge has also attracted other drugmakers. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries recently paid almost $1 billion for almost all of Japanese generics maker Taiyo Pharmaceutical. As Reuters points out, Big Pharma firms such as Sanofi and Pfizer have targeted Japan for growth. And Eli Lilly CEO John Lechleiter said earlier this year that Japan was "a very important growth opportunity" for the company at least till 2020.

- see the Reuters news