Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is shelling out $150 million to buy the 50% stake it does not already own in the Japanese joint venture it ran with Kowa Co.

Teva-Kowa Pharma Co was set up in September 2008 and it has become one of the top five generic players in Japan, the Israeli drugmaker noted. The JV generated sales of some $200 million in 2010.

The deal is part of Teva's push in Japan and comes just after it completed its $934 million acquisition of the country's third-largest generics drugmaker, Taiyo Pharmaceutical Industry Co. Chief executive Shlomo Yanai said that having full ownership of all its activities puts the firm in a better position "to further drive penetration of high quality generic pharmaceuticals in Japan".

With this latest transaction, Teva says that its operations in Japan are expected to generate annual sales in excess of $800 million. It also claims to be ahead of schedule in achieving its goal of $1 billion in sales in Japan by 2015.