Abbott has announced a definitive agreement to acquire full ownership of the healthcare solutions division of India-based Piramal Healthcare, a move that will see the company take top position in the sub-continent’s booming pharmaceutical industry.

Piramal, a leader in the Indian branded generics market, has agreed on an up-front payment of $2.12bn, plus $400m annually for the next four years.

Through the deal, Abbott estimates the growth of its Indian pharmaceutical business with Piramal to approach 20% annually, with expected sales of more than $2.5bn by 2020.

This deal builds on recent growth into emerging markets, including the acquisition of Solvay Pharmaceuticals and the recent announcements of a collaboration with Zydus Cadila, as well as the creation of a new established products division to focus on expansion of branded generics.

Abbott chairman and chief executive officer Miles D White said that this strategic action would advance Abbott into the leading market position in India.

“Today, emerging markets represent more than 20% of Abbott’s total business,” he said.

The market for Indian pharmaceuticals is expected to reach nearly $8bn in annual sales this year, a figure that is expected to more than double by 2015.