Mumbai: USV Ltd, one of the country’s largest diabetes drugs companies, is in talks with Kissei Pharmaceutical Co. of Japan to license a new-generation diabetes drug for the Indian market. USV, which acquired the worldwide distribution rights of a calcium supplement from Japan’s Fujix Corporation last year, is expected to shortly sign the licensing agreement with Kissei Pharma.
The drug—an oral hypoglycemic formulation—is a new discovery by Kissei and it is currently marketed by the company in Japan and a few other markets.
By licensing the products for India, USV will conduct local clinical studies for local registration. A senior USV official, who doesn’t want to be identified, said the product would be launched in India by early 2008. Under the licensing deal, USV will import the product from Japan, and formulate and sell it under USV’s own brand name, the official said.
The diabetes market in India—pegged at Rs800 crore annually—is one of the fastestgrowing therapeutic segments in the domestic pharmaceuticals business. Sales of diabetes drugs are growing more than 30% annually in a country now considered to be the diabetics capital of the world, with over three crore patient population.
If consummated, the Japanese tie-up will help USV expand its Rs120 crore oral antidiabetes drug business. “Japan offers a number of new technologies in the treatment of diabetes now, even as many of these...companies have no plan to enter India immediately,” said the USV official.
In the anti-diabetes market, USV has also entered in the calorie-lowering sweetener segment with the launch of Cutkal, a combination of the new age sweetners such as Aspartame and Aceslfame-K.
Diabetes affects approximately 170 million people worldwide and the number is increasing, with the World Health Organization predicting 300 million diabetics by 2025. The US alone has 20.8 million people suffering from diabetes. This equates to approximately 6% of the population. It was the sixth most common cause of death as recorded on US death certificates. The global diabetes treatment market is valued at more than $15 billion.