AstraZeneca has acquired the remaining stake held in its Japanese unit by Sumitomo Chemical.

In a brief statement, the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker noted that it is paying some 10 billion yen ($102 million) to buy the shares and get complete control of AstraZeneca KK. Chief financial officer Marc Dunoyer said the decision to own all of the unity "reinforces our focus on Japan as a key growth platform".

The company is already doing pretty well in Japan where it is the tenth largest pharmaceutical company in terms of sales. It has an annual growth rate double that of the overall market and above any of the other top ten businesses.

Growth is driven by the cholesterol drug Crestor (atorvastatin), co-promoted with the drug's discoverer Shionogi, the reflux treatment Nexium (esomeprazole) marketed with Daiichi Sankyo and the asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease combo Symbicort (budesonide/formoterol), partnered with Astellas. AstraZeneca is also strong in oncology in Japan, and recently signed a deal to co-promote Janssen’s Zytiga (abiraterone) for castration-resistant prostate cancer.  

The move comes days after AstraZeneca's diabetes drug Forxiga (dapagliflozin) was approved by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. The company has linked up with Ono Pharmaceutical Co to co-promote the sodium glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor in the country.