Sanofi-Aventis and Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical to form generic drug JV

French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis and Japan's Nichi-Iko Pharmaceutical are planning to set up a new joint venture to enter the generics business in Japan, the world's largest generics market.

The JV, to be called Sanofi-Aventis Nichi-Iko K K, will have a 51-per cent shareholding by Paris-based Sanofi-Aventis, with the Osaka and Nagoya-listed Nichi-Iko holding the remaining 49-per cent.

In addition, Sanofi-Aventis will acquire 1,524,500 shares of Nichi-Iko that will result in it holding a 4.66-per cent stake in Nichi-Iko.

The joint venture will acquire the marketing and distribution rights in Japan for the anti-insomnia agent Amoban from Sanofi-Aventis.

Sanofi-Aventis said that Amoban sales reached €43 million in 2009. Nichi-Iko will promote and distribute Amoban through its large network of pharmacies, wholesalers and medical institutions.

Both companies will continue to explore additional opportunities for the development of the joint venture in the generic market in Japan by combining Nichi-Iko's expertise in manufacturing, development, and distribution of generics in Japan and Sanofi-Aventis' resources and global portfolio of generics.