AstraZeneca has laid out its plans for growth in the emerging markets which the company notes is not limited to the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) countries.

Speaking in London yesterday, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker’s head of global commercial operations, Tony Zook, said that the aim is for emerging markets to contribute 25% of sales by 2014, up from 13%, or about $4.35 billion, in 2009. This will be done through sales of existing and new drugs as well as through the launch of “a highly selective portfolio of branded generics”.

A number of AstraZeneca’s rivals have already hit the 25% share mark and are also taking the branded generic route, and Mr Zook noted that the latter sector will make up only 10%-15% of AstraZeneca's sales in emerging markets by 2014. Such a target seems to be a cautious one, but the company does not intend to flood these markets with branded generics.

Rather, Mr Zook told PharmaTimes World News that a "stringent criteria" has been adopted to focus on markets and products that will be highly profitable. As such, 30 out of 100-plus markets have been selected and just 100 molecules, out of over 2,000 that were considered.

Those 100 or so branded generics will be in therapeutic areas where AstraZeneca is strong, eg 30-40 in central nervous system, 20-30 in cardiovascular and 15-25 in oncology. The company has just signed a branded generics supply deal with India's Torrent Pharmaceuticals, covering 18 products and Mr Zook added that while AstraZeneca will look at other alliances and possible acquisitions, its forecasts for 2014 do not include those possibilities.

The company also said it will be focusing on the small and mid-sized markets outside the BRIC countries, plus Mexico and Turkey. Excluding those six, the other 11 nations classed as emerging could add $60 billion to sales by 2014.

AstraZeneca claimed that it is the fastest-growing pharmaceutical company in the Middle East and North Africa region and highlighted Saudi Arabia and Algeria as areas of great potential. Other promising markets the company mentioned are Poland and Romania.