Abbott Targets New Markets With Zydus Deal

NEW YORK (AP) -- Abbott Laboratories will license at least 24 products in emerging markets through a new unit created to boost sales outside of the U.S., the drug and medical device maker said Tuesday.

About 20 percent of the company's pharmaceutical sales are already made in emerging markets, and major drug companies see plenty of room to grow.

Also on Tuesday, GlaxoSmithKline PLC said it had signed a strategic alliance with South Korea's Dong-A Pharmaceuticals Co., acquiring nearly 10 percent of the company for $109.5 million.

The partnership gives Glaxo a larger presence in Asia, where it hopes to counter slowing sales in Western markets.

Abbott said it will license products from Zydus Cadila, based in India, and will sell them in 15 emerging markets. Abbott did not specify which products, but said they complement its own generic drugs, including medicines for pain, cancer and cardiovascular, neurological and respiratory diseases.

The new markets include Brazil, Russia, Mexico, South Africa, Poland, Egypt, Turkey, Hungary, Romania, Indonesia. Vietnam, the Philippines, Thailand, and Ukraine.

"Pharmaceutical sales in emerging markets are expected to grow at three times the rate of developed markets and account for 70 percent of the industry's growth over the next several years," Abbott said in a release. "Branded generics represent the most significant growth opportunity in emerging markets."

As part of the expansion, Abbott is formally creating a separate unit. The company says it already has $5 billion in affiliated sales.

Terms of the deal with Zydus Cadila haven't been disclosed, but includes an option to license an additional 40 products. The product launches are planned for early 2012.

In February, Abbott closed its $6.2 billion buyout of Solvay's pharmaceutical business, also adding generic drugs to the company's portfolio. Solvay is a Belgian company, but has strong sales in Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.

Shares of Abbott Laboratories, based in North Chicago, Ill., fell 17 cents to $49.52 in afternoon trading.