Teva Seeking Deals in Asia to Bolster Sales Growth, CFO Says

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., the world’s biggest generic-drug maker, is seeking acquisitions in Asia to bolster sales in the region and to expand its product lines, two company executives said.

“A lot of the future growth of the generic industries is going to happen in Asia,” said Chief Financial Officer Eyal Desheh in an interview at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco. “The population is very large.”

Last year, the Petach Tikva-based company purchased a 57 percent stake in Japan-based Taiyo Pharmaceutical Industry Co. for $460 million in cash. Similar purchases may follow, he said.

“The key is very local businesses,” he said, listing countries such as China, India, Philippines, Vietnam and Korea. “We’ll have to go one by one, a lot of footwork, country by country. None of these will be huge acquisitions and this push may take a few years.”

Other than Asia, Brazil is a potential “major market” that Teva needs “to get into” for deal, Desheh said. “We will find a way to do it.”

The Israeli company last week named Jeremy Levin, a former executive at Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. who helped develop research alliances for the New York-based drugmaker, as its new chief executive officer. While generic medicines remain the key focus at Teva, it’s likely the company will generate more deals involving companies with experimental medicines once the new CEO comes on board in May, said Bill Marth, president of the company’s America’s Unit.

Branded Business

“I think there will be a focus on our branded business to create value for Teva over the mid-term to long-term,” he said.

Until Levin’s arrival, Teva will continue to pursue business development activities, Marth said.

“I don’t want people to think that between now and May it will shut down,” he said. “We are pursuing some interesting things right now on a product level.”

With Teva’s $6.2 billion acquisition of Cephalon Inc. last October being integrated, Marth said there may be a few “pieces to spin out, some of the small, large molecule discovery,” and some individual products might be sold.

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