The link between Daiichi Sankyo and Ranbaxy Laboratories has strengthened with the news that the Indian drugmaker has transferred all its new drug discovery research to the Japanese parent company.

The firms are to merge their R&D operations into a new entity, called Daiichi Sankyo Life Science Research Centre, which will be based in Gurgaon, India. Its focus will be on creating “promising new drugs, especially in the area of low molecular weight infectious and inflammatory disease treatments”, Ranbaxy said.

The new centre will also continue to support the programmes of dengue and tuberculosis that Ranbaxy has been working on in alliance with the Government of India. Daiichi Sankyo bought a majority stake in Ranbaxy in October 2008 and they have cooperated on R&D but this switch, they say, will lead to “more efficient global R&D and “quicker results".

Atul Sobti, Ranbaxy’s chief executive, said his firm’s discovery efforts will perform more effectively within the new drug R&D structure of Daiichi Sankyo and within Ranbaxy, itself, generics research “will get a sharper focus, as we are increasingly working on more complex and specialist areas.” He added that “of course, this move would also provide Ranbaxy good value, on an immediate and recurring basis.” Daiichi Sankyo chief executive Ioji Nakayama said the parent company will incorporate “talented researchers who offer a new perspective and have a wealth of imagination and experience”.

However, Ranbaxy will continue to independently develop and later commercialise the anti-malaria combination drug arterolane and piperaquine, which is currently in Phase III trials. It will also press ahead with late-stage programmes developed in-house over the last few years, including drugs from its collaboration with GlaxoSmithKline, which is looking at anti-infectives, metabolic disorders and oncology treatments, as well as respiratory products.