Sanofi-Aventis and partner Astellas Pharma have announced plans to restructure their joint venture activities in Japan.

The changes to Fujisawa Sanofi-Aventis “will simplify the operational management” of the JV, which was set up in 1982 and is 51% owned by the French drugmaker. As part of the restructuring, Sanofi’s Japanese subsidiary will obtain certain rights to the insomnia drug Myslee (zolpidem), which it sells elsewhere as Ambien and Stilnox, though Astellas will co-promote and distribute the treatment.

As for other products covered by the JV, the nausea treatment Primperan (metoclopramide) and the antipsychotics Dogmatyl (sulpiride) and Gramalil (tiapride) will be solely marketed and distributed by Astellas.

Daiichi Sankyo sells two non-core units
Staying with Japan and Daiichi Sankyo has agreed to sell two of its chemical-making subsidiaries to Nippon Shokubai Co as part of its strategy of focusing on pharmaceuticals.

The Tokyo-headquartered firm said it has signed an agreement to transfer all its shares in Nippon Nyukazai Co. and its 52% stake in Sino-Japan Chemical to Shokubai. Financial terms were not disclosed, though Daiichi Sankyo said that the effect of the deal on its earnings “will be disclosed at a later date”.

Daiichi Sankyo sees pharmaceuticals as its growth driver now and has sold off a number of non-core businesses since its formation in September 2005 following Sankyo's merger with Daiichi Pharmaceutical Co.