Monday, May 21, 2007


Pharma firms diversify

Rupali Mukherjee
Unrelenting pricing pressure on generics in the US and attractive global opportunities have led domestic majors including Ranbaxy, Dr Reddy's and Glenmark to find niches such as biotechnology. While for some — Nicholas Piramal and Dishman, contract research and manufacturing services has emerged as a huge opportunity, others like Divi's Laboratories have forayed into neutraceuticals.

In February this year, Ranbaxy signed a development and marketing agreement with Zenotech Laboratories for its first biosimilar product, G-CSF (filgrastim). G-CSF is used to prevent infections from cancer chemotherapy-induced neutropenia (decrease in the number of a type of white-blood cells). Ramesh Adige, ED, Ranbaxy, says: "Biogenerics or biosimilars is an active area of interest for Ranbaxy. Our strategy to enter the segment will be through alliances or strategic investments in specialty companies that will allow us to gain access to technologies and products in this area".

Analysts say success in the biotech industry necessitates coming up with innovative products. Indian companies have identified this area and have shifted their business models to one of alliances from an erstwhile model of competition. Recently, Dr Reddy's has launched a generic version of Roche's biologic blockbuster Rituxan (rituximab), a monoclonal antibody (MAb) for the treatment of non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Glenmark has tied up US-based Dyax to expedite biologics research.

Utkarsh Palnitkar, industry leader (health sciences) Ernst & Young, feels "Even as the Indian industry is restructuring and advancing in key competitive niches, market trends are creating more opportunities. The country's old patent regime fostered a skilled generics industry, and many Indian firms are well positioned for the coming waves of patent expirations. Action so far has been in pharmaceuticals, but several biologic drugs are expected to go off-patent soon, including blockbusters like Epogen, Novolin, and Humulin."

"Indian biotech companies are gearing up to garner outsourced manufacturing contracts, and companies such as Biocon, Wockhardt, Panacea Biotech, and Shantha Biotech are preparing generic versions of biotech drugs," he adds. Biocon, which is focusing on biotech drugs, is reaping huge gains. Says CMD Kiran Mazumdar Shaw: "We are focused on select areas viz diabetes, cancer and cardio vascular as we believe biotech drugs have a key role to play in treating these diseases."

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?