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Teva Enters South Korean Drug Market in Bid to Grow in East Asia

Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. will start selling medicine in South Korea as it seeks to gain access to a $14 billion drug market.

Teva will have a controlling stake of 51 percent in a partnership with Handok Pharmaceuticals Co., the Petach Tikva, Israel-based company said in a statement. The business venture will allow Teva to market its multiple sclerosis treatment Copaxone and so-called branded generics to a growing health-care system in South Korea, Teva said. This is its first commercial deal in East Asia outside Japan.

“Our business venture with Handok in Korea reinforces our commitment to execute disciplined business development transactions which support our growth plan, specifically in this region,” Chief Executive Officer Jeremy Levin said in an e-mailed statement to Bloomberg.

Levin is expanding in East Asia as he revamps the company. Teva, which presented its long-term strategy to investors on Dec. 11, is seeking new ways to grow as U.S. generic competition intensifies and best-selling Copaxone faces competition from oral drugs and patent protection loss in 2015. Teva is already the third largest generic-drug maker in Japan, the world’s most rapidly aging nation.

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