Two Europe-based drug companies have struck agreements with Asian firms with the goal of lowering their costs for active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs). Switzerland's Nycomed has signed a deal with India's Zydus Cadila under which it will transfer all API production from its facilities in Singen, Germany, and Linz, Austria, to Cadila plants in India by 2011. About 200 jobs out of 1,400 at the two sites may be affected. "API production is under increasing cost pressure from countries with lower wages," says Barthold Piening, Nycomed's executive vice president for operations. "We will focus on the [finished] pharmaceutical production because this is an area for future innovation." Meanwhile, Actavis, the Icelandic generic drug company, has acquired a 90% stake in China's Zhejiang Chiral Medicine Chemicals for an undisclosed sum. Actavis says the purchase of the six-year-old firm is part of its strategy of getting direct access to low-cost API manufacturing. Actavis earlier established R&D and API facilities in India.