Sanofi-aventis and Nichi-Iko announce joint venture for generics in Japan

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Sanofi-aventis and Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. (Nichi-Iko) have announced that they have signed an agreement to establish a new joint venture, called sanofi-aventis Nichi-Iko KK, in order to develop a generic business in Japan.


Nichi-Iko was founded in 1965 and is the leader, and fastest growing, generics company in Japan, with 2009 sales reaching JPY 54.8 billion (Euros 460 million).

Senior Vice President, Asia Pacific and Japan, sanofi-aventis, Mr Olivier Charmeil said “we are extremely pleased to establish this joint venture with Nichi-Iko that will allow us to strengthen our leadership and develop a strong presence in the fast-growing generic market in Japan. Our objective is to provide the Japanese generic market, with high quality and affordable pharmaceuticals, supporting the government's stated objective of increasing generic penetration”.

As a first step, the joint venture will take over the marketing and distribution rights in Japan for the anti-insomnia agent Amoban (zopiclone) from sanofi-aventis Nichi-Iko KK

Both companies continue to explore additional opportunities for the development of the joint venture in the generic market in Japan by combining Nichi-Iko’s expertise in manufacturing, development, and distribution of generics in Japan and sanofi-aventis’ resources and global portfolio of generics.

Japan is the world’s secondd largest pharmaceutical market, with annual sales of approximately JPY 8.85 trillion (Euros 74 billion). However, only around 8% of its prescription drug sales (20% in sales volume) are generics. By 2012, a combination of major drug patent expiries, rapidly aging demographic and wide-ranging government initiatives to reduce healthcare spending will make the generic drug sector in Japan increasingly attractive. The Japanese government is promoting the use of generics with the objective to reach more than 30% of the total pharmaceutical market in volume by 2012.


Sanofi-aventis Press Release, Sanofi-aventis and Generics Leader Nichi-Iko to Establish New Joint Venture for Generics in Japan, May 28, 2010

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