Japan’s drugmakers look at joint ventures

Agence France Presse

Tokyo, January 10:

Japan’s main pharmaceuticals makers, led by the largest, Takeda Chemical Industries Co, will form partnerships to develop products for the over-the-counter market, a report stated today.

Three firms — Takeda, Taisho Pharmaceutical Co and SSP Co — will share basic data through a research and development alliance tailored to specific drug categories, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported. With the tie-up, the three will aim to cut development costs for new types of preventive drugs for Japan’s non-prescription market, the business daily reported. This marks the first time companies will cooperate from the research stage for main compounds, the lifeline of pharmaceutical products.

Under the plan, the partnerships will cover drugs to treat lifestyle-related illnesses such as hypertension, hyperlipidemia, diabetes and obesity, the newspaper reported.

Data needed for the drug approval process would be jointly gathered, with the effort shared through to the submission of approval applications to the health ministry. Once approved, each firm would market the drug under its own brand, it reported, adding that a survey of similar products in Europe and the US may be conducted jointly. The alliance could be formed by the end of March 2006, with the first product reaching the market three years later, it reported.