Lupin eyes buyouts up to $500M in U.S. growth push

Lupin executives keep talking up their plans for U.S. expansion. Buying brands, buying companies, pumping up its own launches of generic drugs--the Indian drugmaker says it's going to pull out all the stops to build up its stateside presence.

It's all about improving margins and positioning itself for long-term growth after the biggest patent-cliff years are past. Generics are Lupin's staple, and it's aiming to reap as much growth from the newly off-patent blockbusters as it can. But its branded drugs deliver a much greater portion of sales to the bottom line, so adding to that business is a key goal. On the generics side, Lupin is looking toward products that aren't as commoditized as the garden-variety generic, and as such enjoy bigger margins.

For a hint of what sort of companies Lupin might be interested in snapping up, consider this: It shopped ISTA Pharmaceuticals, the eye drug specialist, before Bausch & Lomb agreed to buy it for $500 million. As The Wall Street Journal points out, that's a much bigger buyout than Lupin has ever engineered in the U.S.

Apparently, though, Lupin is willing to sock that kind of money into a U.S. deal. The company sources about 35% of its sales in the States now, and sees the U.S. as its primary growth market. Preferred therapeutic areas include dermatology, ophthalmology, respiratory and women's health. "We've looked at small-sized acquisition opportunities as well as opportunities in the $400 million-$500 million price range," group president Vineeta Gupta has said (as quoted by the WSJ).

- read the WSJ piece

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