AstraZeneca has signed a deal with India’s Torrent Pharmaceuticals this morning to get access to a portfolio of generics which the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker intends to brand and sell in emerging markets.

Under the terms of the agreement AstraZeneca will initially purchase the licenses and market authorizations for 18 products currently owned by Torrent in nine countries. A spokesman for the drugs major told PharmaTimes World News that the company is not disclosing which products or indeed countries are involved but said that they have been carefully selected to fit with AstraZeneca’s strengths, adding that the deal involves areas where favourable pricing can be arranged. No financial terms have been disclosed either.

Tony Zook, head of AstraZeneca’s global commercial organisation, said: that in markets where “consumers and physicians have a strong preference for trusted brands, we believe AstraZeneca’s long-standing reputation for quality is a sustainable competitive advantage”. He added that working in partnership with Torrent “will extend the range of branded medicines we can offer to patients in emerging markets, where we see continuing opportunities for our business to grow”.

Mr Zook concluded by saying that Torrent is a logical partner, “because of their complementary product portfolio and proven ability to manufacture to AstraZeneca’s high quality standards”. Torrent has two vast manufacturing plants – in Chhatral and Baddi – that have the capacity to manufacture 6,60 billion tablets.

AstraZeneca noted that emerging markets are forecast to contribute around 70% of pharmaceutical industry growth in the next five years, “and branded generics represent approximately 50% by value in these emerging markets”. The company believes it can “capitalise on this opportunity and over time plans to broaden its portfolio beyond these initial 18 products”, the company said.