Sandoz Boosts Toehold in Japan with Aspen Acquisition


Sandoz, the generics unit of Novartis, is expanding its reach into Asia with the $330 million acquisition of the Japanese business of Aspen Global Incorporated, a subsidiary of Aspen Pharmacare Holdings. The deal reinforces Sandoz’s strategic focus on Japan, Novartis said this morning.

When the deal closes, Sandoz will pay Aspen €300 million, about $330 million, to complete the acquisition. Novartis said the acquisition will enable Sandoz to expand its presence in the third-largest worldwide generics marketplace. The portfolio of drugs Aspen has in Japan consists primarily of off-patent branded medicines with a focus on anesthetics and specialty brands, the company said in its announcement. Aspen’s portfolio in Japan comprises approximately 20 products, now off-patent branded medicines with a focus on anesthetics, including Xylocaine. The specialty brands in Aspen’s portfolio include Imuran, and the deal also includes brands specific to Japan. The medicines in Aspen's portfolio will “complement Sandoz broad hospital portfolio and pipeline in Japan thereby expanding access to the hospital channel,” Novartis added. Full-year sales of Aspen’s products for 2019 were €130 million, or about $144 million.

Sandoz Chief Executive Officer Richard Saynor touted the acquisition and what it means to Sandoz as far as solidifying the company’s toehold in Japan.

“The acquisition of Aspen’s Japanese operations would significantly strengthen our position in this country, a stable but growing generics market. We are committed to helping address patient and customer needs in the market as we aspire to become the world’s leading and most valued generics company,” Saynor said in a statement.

In addition to the portfolio of medicines Sandoz will receive through the acquisition, the deal also includes a dedicated sales, marketing and medical organization in Japan. When the deal is complete and the Aspen organization being acquired is folded into Sandoz, Novartis said the deal will enhance its ability to serve patients and customers in the hospital channel.

Also, Aspen Global Incorporated entered into a five-year manufacturing and supply agreement with Sandoz. That agreement includes an extension option for an additional two years, for the supply of active pharmaceutical ingredients, semi-finished and finished goods related to the portfolio of divested brands.

The acquisition is expected to be completed in the first half of 2020. If certain conditions are met at the time of closing, Sandoz said it has agreed to pay “certain deferred considerations” not to exceed €100 million to Aspen Global Incorporated. What those considerations are were not specified in the announcement.

Back to news