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Lilly eyes China's branded generics market

Expands manufacturing deal with local generic and specialty firm Novast Laboratories

Eli Lilly & Company's plans to build a portfolio of branded generic drugs for the Chinese market have taken a step forward with the signing of a manufacturing deal with local firm Novast Laboratories.

The Nantong-based generic and specialty pharmaceutical company will increase manufacturing capacity to support Lilly's branded generic products in multiple therapeutic areas, with Lilly providing technical support to enhance quality standards.

The big pharma company also has hopes the tie-up will ultimately see Novast providing local and regional manufacturing capabilities for Lilly's branded product pipeline.

Jacques Tapiero, Lilly senior vice president and president of emerging markets, said: "As we develop a platform of high-quality Lilly branded generic medicines in China, we are supporting the Chinese governments' current five-year plan, which calls for significant improvement in the quality of medicines in the pharmaceutical industry.

"In Lilly's emerging markets business, we are focused on providing patients with innovative medicines from our own pipeline, as well as select Lilly branded generic medicines that meet our quality standards."

The agreement is the second Chinese manufacturing deal Lilly has signed this year after extending its contract with Shanghai-based research and development outsourcing company in January.

As part of its latest deal Lilly, which made an initial investment in the firm through its venture capital arm several years ago, will take a further share of $20m in Novast.

However, the Chinese firm will still be free to work with other companies, and its additional manufacturing capacity will not be solely dedicated to Lilly products.

Generics have huge potential in China, along with other key expanding markets like India and Brazil, according to consultants Frost & Sullivan, who expect a combination of patent expiries and emerging markets to drive significant growth in the market.

China in particular has seen a number of big pharma deals as companies look to tap into this potential.

Pfizer is moving towards forming a joint venture with Zhejiang Hisun Pharmaceutical to develop and market generic drugs in the country, and has a similar agreement with Shanghai Pharmaceuticals Co.

Meanwhile, AstraZeneca is to acquire China-based generics firm Guangdong BeiKang Pharmaceutical Company in a deal that will give it access to a portfolio of injectable medicines to treat infections, which the company will market in China.

  • Read more about the China's pharmaceutical market in our country report

13th June 2012

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