Daiichi Sankyo is celebrating the completion of the worldwide integration process following the merger that formed the company 18 months and has outlined its plans to expand in Europe while becoming a “global pharma innovator”.

The merger of Daiichi and Sankyo put the new entity into the top three pharmaceutical firms in Japan and one of the 20 leading drugmakers globally, and the firm said the development of innovative products is the way to increase that position. The company “wants to fortify its presence” in Europe and has set a sales target for the continent in 2009 of 525 million euros, which represents a rise of almost 60% compared to turnover last year.

To achieve this, Daiichi Sankyo will be boosting R&D activities at its two European research centres – in Munich and London – and through product launches. Principal among these will be the launch in Europe (planned for the first quarter of 2009) of the antithrombotic prasugrel, co-developed with Eli Lilly, while a combination antihypertensive consisting of the firm’s best-selling Benicar/Olmetec (olmesartan) and amlodipine will also be “coming through the product pipeline for Europe.”

Panaldine rights transferred to Sanofi-Aventis

Meantime, Daiichi Sankyo is transferring the Japanese commercial rights for the anticlotting agent Panaldine (ticlopidine) to Sanofi-Aventis in a deal that is due to be concluded by October 1. The companies added that “given their long-standing relationship, both parties agreed to collaborate in the future in the areas of manufacturing and distribution in Japan.”

Panaldine, known elsewhere as Ticlid, was the predecessor to Sanofi’s blockbuster Plavix (clopidogrel), which was only made available in Japan in May 2006 and is promoted by the two firms there, though the Franco-German drugmaker re-acquired the rights to Plavix in 2005.