Mumbai: Indian drugmakers Cipla and Lupin have denied being in talks with Japan’s largest drugmaker, Takeda Pharmaceutical Co , after the Economic Times newspaper reported the Japanese firm’s interest in buying some of their businesses.
The news report was ‘baseless’, Cipla and Lupin told the stock exchanges in statements that categorically denied the report.
Takeda, which has said it wants to expand in India, one of the world’s fastest growing drug markets which is expanding at 12% to 15% a year, has held preliminary talks with Cipla, while talks with Lupin have passed the initial stage, the newspaper said, citing people with direct knowledge of the development.
Japanese drugmakers, hampered by growing obstacles in the development of next-generation blockbuster products, have been active in global acquisitions, seeking to beef up product pipelines.
A Takeda spokeswoman declined to comment on the report.
Cipla, India’s third-largest drugmaker by sales, is known for selling low-cost generic versions of anti-retroviral drugs used to fight HIV/AIDS. Lupin, which the market values at $4.29 billion, is a major producer of generic drugs and is the fifth largest generic firm in the United States.
The newspaper report said Takeda was interested in buying Lupin’s domestic formulations business as well as its research facility, but its founders were not willing to sell the research unit.
Emerging markets are set to become the main driver for the global pharmaceuticals industry as patents run out on many top drugs and sales stall in Western markets, but acquisitions in those economies have not always come easy.
In 2009, Daiichi Sankyo , Japan’s No.3 drugmaker, took majority control of Indian generic drug maker Ranbaxy Laboratories for $4.6 billion, but later saw profits fall at the unit following a U.S. ban on some Ranbaxy products amid allegations of falsified data.
In a move to lift its presence in emerging markets, Takeda bought drugmaker Nycomed, which is well-placed in Russia and Brazil and owns a majority stake in a Chinese firm, for $13.7 billion.
At a news conference announcing the deal in May, chief executive Yasuchika Hasegawa said the Japan firm was open to further acquisitions.
In 2008, Takeda purchased U.S. cancer specialist Millennium Pharmaceuticals for $8.8 billion in 2008. Other Japanese drugmakers have also been active in overseas acquisitions.
In recent years, Astellas Pharma bought OSI Pharma for $4 billion and Eisai purchased MGI Pharma for $3.9 billion to boost their cancer drug pipelines.
Shares in Takeda ended at ¥3,625 yen on Tuesday, down 0.7% versus a fall of 1.1% in Japan’s benchmark Nikkei , whereas Lupin shares ended up a provisional 2.64% and Cipla down 0.43% in a weak Mumbai market.