* China market to have annual sales of $40 billion by 2013
By Farah Master
(Reuters) - U.S. drug maker Eli Lilly plans to launch 15 new products in China in the next five years, chief executive John Lechleiter said on Tuesday, while urging China to be more vigilant on intellectual property rights.
Lechleiter said Eli Lilly, which opened its first non-U.S. office in Shanghai in 1918, has the largest product pipeline in its history.
\"We are investing aggressively in China,\" Lechleiter told Reuters at the sidelines of a pharmaceuticals conference in Shanghai. He declined to comment on how much Eli Lilly was investing in China but said they had invested more than 2 billion yuan ($293 million) since the late 1990s. Lechleiter, who took the helm of the Indianapolis-based firm in April 2008, said Eli Lilly planned to grow significantly in the next few years after achieving sales of $270 million in China last year. Lechleiter said China was expected to have $40 billion in annual sales by 2013. Eli Lilly\'s $100 million venture capital fund focused on life sciences and healthcare in China is one of the most active venture capital investors in China\'s biopharmaceutical industry, Lechleiter said.
\"In the two-and-a-half years since it started, Lilly\'s Asian venture has made 6 investments and deployed more than $40 million.\"
Lechleiter said Eli Lilly had established positions in the fastest growing therapeutic areas in China including oncology and diabetes and was investing in the education of Chinese doctors so they would be ready to pursue future roles in clinical trials. Home to more people with diabetes than any other country, China has more than 92 million adults already diagnosed and nearly 150 million developing it, a medical report said in January. Lechleiter said while China had made significant progress in developing a patent regime in line with international systems, it needed to more actively enforce intellectual property rights.
\"Regulatory agencies need to play a role as an enforcer for any registration of generics when the patents are in place.\" ($1=6.826 Yuan) (Editing by Jacqueline Wong)