Teva Pharmaceutical Industries of Israel is looking at acquisitions in Asia, an area where it expects generics uptake to boom.

Speaking at the JP Morgan Global Healthcare Conference in San Francisco to Bloomberg, the Israeli drugmaker's chief financial officer Eyal Desheh, noted that "the key is very local businesses”. He specifically mentioned China, India, the Philippines, Vietnam and Korea.

He went on to say that “we’ll have to go one by one, a lot of footwork, country by country. None of these will be huge acquisitions and this push may take a few years". Last year, the Petach Tikva-based company paid out $150 million to buy the 50% stake it does not already own in the Japanese joint venture it ran with Kowa Co and completed its $934 million acquisition of the country's third-largest generics drugmaker.

Other than Asia, Brazil is a market that Teva needs “to get into”, Mr Desheh added. "There won't be deals of the size of Cephalon (bought last year for $6.80 billion), Ratiopharm and Barr, but it's possible to expect smaller acquisitions and acquisitions of products," he said.

Teva is also looking to expand its branded business as it prepares for life after the multiple sclerosis blockbuster Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) goes off-patent. Speaking at the JP Morgan conference, and reported by the Globes newspaper, William Marth, president of the company’s Americas Unit, said Teva recently raised the price of Copaxone which "will peak in 2012, and it's clear that we must consider reality".

To help fill the gap, he mentioned two treatments gained through its acquisition of Cephalon - Omapro (omacetaxine) for chronic myeloid leukaemiaand a tamper-deterrent extended-release hydrocodone product for chronic pain. Mr Marth said the latter could become a $300-500 million product.