Sun Pharma eyes partnerships, acquisitions to enter Japanese market

Sun Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd, the country’s largest drugmaker by market capitalisation, is exploring opportunities to partner or acquire companies in Japan to enter the market, a senior executive told Reuters .

"But we are still thinking through as to what's the best way to participate. It could be a partnership or an acquisition. We haven't really narrowed down the specific way of doing it," said Uday Baldota, senior vice president for finance and accounts at Sun Pharma.

Japan is a lucrative market for manufacturing low-cost drugs especially as politicians in the country are lobbying for more generics to go on sale to bring down the cost of healthcare for an ageing population.

According to Baldota, the company has expanded in the last few years, primarily through acquisitions and was always on the look-out for more such opportunities.

The company was earlier in talks to acquire specialty drugmaker Aptalis from PE firm TPG Capital. However, the company was acquired by Forest Laboratories Inc for $2.9 billion in January.

Sun was also in talks to buy Swedish drugmaker Meda which manufactures specialty products and over-the-counter drugs, but the deal did not materialise due to differences over valuation.

Some of the earlier acquisitions by Sun Pharma include the company acquiring US-based Dusa Pharmaceuticals for $230 million and generic business of US-based URL Pharma, which was owned by Japanese pharmaceutical company Takeda for an undisclosed amount.

The company has also been looking to take full control of US-listed Israeli company Taro Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, but the deal was terminated last year.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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