J&J chief hints at unease in China, but plots new buyouts

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky

Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky likes to hint at trouble developing its Chinese sales, but don't expect him to come right out and criticize the prickly Chinese government. In a brief interview with The Wall Street Journal, Gorsky said J&J ($JNJ) was looking for new acquisitions in China, with new drugs for lung cancer as one of its top targets. (Lung cancer is particularly prevalent in China, making it a favorite for all the biopharma companies operating there.) And he added that the company is concerned that it takes twice as long to develop a drug in China as it does in the U.S. and Europe. There are times when J&J feels it is facing unfair competition--a possible reference to the Chinese government's move to target foreigners in a recent corruption probe--but Gorsky isn't going into any details. Instead, he reverts to the party line: "We support government actions in creating a leveled playing field for all companies." Story (sub. req.)

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