Japanese Mid-Sized Drugmakers To Merge For Survival

Company created will be Japan's fifth largest.

Two medium-sized Japanese drugmakers, Mitsubishi Pharma and Tanabe Seiyaku, said Feb. 2 they would merge on October 1 to survive tough competition at home and expand into the growing global market.

The merger will create Japan's fifth biggest pharmaceutical company in terms of revenue as their combined sales totaled 407.8 billion yen (US$3.4 billion) in the year to March 2006, the two companies said. Mitsubishi Pharma Corp. is currently ranked ninth and Tanabe Seiyaku Co. 11th among Japan's drugmakers.

The new firm, called Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma Corp., will be created with Tanabe taking over Mitsubishi Pharma. Mitsubishi Pharma's parent company, Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Corp., will take a stake of more than 50% in the merged firm and make it a subsidiary.

The new firm will aim to chalk up 470 billion yen in revenue in the year to March 2011. Its operating profit is estimated at 105 billion yen and its research and development budget at 85 billion yen for that year.

A statement by the companies warned that the government's policy to restrict prices of medicines in Japan would "weed out pharmaceutical companies which lag behind in the global competition."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2007

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