Schering-Plough is aiming to triple its sales in the increasingly attractive Japanese market over the next five years, with growth set to be led by the firm’s new cholesterol-lowering agent, Zetia (ezetimibe).

Speaking in an interview with Reuters, S-P’s chief executive, Fred Hassan, explained that the firm’s goal is to be ranked amongst the top 25 companies in Japan by 2010. He explained that the company’s cholesterol business would be key to its growth over the coming years, adding that the recent tie-up with Bayer, which will see both firms co-market Zetia in the Japanese market, was central to the planned growth [[13/09/04b]]. Growth is also expected to come from an inhaled version of the allergy drug, Nasonex (mometasone), as well as the brain cancer treatment, Temodar (temozolomide).

S-P is not, however, seeking to conduct any major mergers or acquisitions in order to achieve its goal, and instead is planning to concentrate its efforts on “organic growth” as a means of succeeding in its aim. However, the company would consider some M&A activity “if the right opportunity comes up for some transaction that can give us a big leap forward.”

The news comes hot on the heels of Eli Lilly’s declaration last week that it was aiming to double its turnover in the region over the coming six years [[24/03/05b]]. Japan is the world’s second largest pharmaceutical market, and is becoming increasingly attractive to Western multi-nations aiming to beef up their sales.