Updated on 12 June 2013
A subsequent report by BioPharm Insight revealed that, as businesses mature, China's pharmaceutical and biotechnology sector experts expected Chinese companies to shift away from Over-the-Counter (OTC) and generics businesses towards more of R&D activities.
In 2010, when the Beijing Genomics Institute (BGI) purchased HiSeq DNA sequencers from Illmunia, funded in part by China Development Bank's $1.58 billion credit line, the whole genome sequencing became an attractive area for investment in China. BGI entered 2012's top-five list of healthcare M&A deals in China when a consortium of private equity firms led by Everbright Private Equity bought an undisclosed stake in the Chinese genomics company for $223.1 million in December 2012.
By year-end, BGI was given clearance by the US government to acquire Complete Genomics, a US genome sequencing company. The deal was completed in March 2013 for $117.6 million. Another large investment in China was made by Pacific Alliance, a private equity firm, which bought an undisclosed stake in Shaanxi Bicon Pharmaceutical for $250 million in February 2012. China-based Bicon makes a broad range of healthcare products including generics, vaccines, and bio-pharmaceuticals.
Meanwhile, with the fall of the Yen's value against the US dollar, Japan's M&A activity continued to stall. Most deals were below $100 million, like, Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma acquired Nipro Corporation's pharmaceutical manufacturing business for $74 million, and Taisho Pharmaceutical acquired Tokuhon Corporation, a Japanese analgesic and anti-inflammatory maker, for $59 million. Interestingly, in 2011 Teva Pharmaceutical Industries had bought a 57 percent stake in Taiyo Pharmaceutical for $430 million, giving the Israel-based generics maker a significant piece of the Japanese generic
Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group's twin deals, worth $83 million (advising on the Taisho-Tokuhon deal), brought it on the top of the league tables for healthcare M&A deals in 2012, followed by Nomura Holdings' three deals totaling $74 million. In addition, Australia continued to be a big player in the Asia-Pacific region in 2012, accounting for three of the top 10 M&A deals in Asia excluding Japan.
Other than the Watson-Ascent deal, South Africa-based Aspen Pharmacare acquired 25 drug brands sold in Australia from GlaxoSmithKline for $271 million in December 2012. Nabi Biopharmaceuticals agreed to merge with Biota Holdings, an Australian anti-infective developer, in a deal worth $152 million in October 2012.