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Ranbaxy, one of India’s largest pharmaceuticals groups, plans fresh alliances and acquisitions in Europe and North America in the months ahead as it aims to achieve annual sales of $2bn by 2007.

Malvinder Singh, the newly-appointed chief executive, told the FT during the World Economic Forum that he was planning to focus on western markets, with possible significant deals in the company’s core generics activity.

However, he stressed that “we are living in a seller’s market” currently, and would be cautious as prices of potential targets rose.

Mr Singh also expressed confidence in the potential for strong organic growth in Japan, where Ranbaxy has a joint venture with a local partner and believes the small generics market will double in volume and value in the next few years as health reform continues.

He expressed confidence in India’s new intellectual property regime, introduced last year as a condition for entry into the World Trade Organisation, which provides significantly greater defences on copycat drug production,

However, he said Ranbaxy itself continues to suffer infringements from Indian rivals on some of its products, and was still awaiting approval of patents from the “mailbox” of thousands of applications lodges with the government since 2005.

Mr Singh said Ranbaxy manufactured all the key cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, and was ready to launch them as son as patents expired - including for Merck’s Zocor when exclusivity expires in June in the US.

He said he planned to place fresh emphasis on research and development partnerships, building on its experience with GlaxoSmithKline and the Medicines for Malaria Venture.

He was also considering ways to strengthen “team performance” and further reduce costs.

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