MUMBAI: India’s second-largest pharmaceutical company, Cipla is talking to five biotechnology firms from Cuba, China and Russia to help it enter the domestic biopharmaceuticals (or biopharma) market.
“We will either license products or the underlying technology from foreign as well as domestic biotechnology firms, so that we can launch our first products by early 2008,” said Yusuf K. Hamied, the company’s chairman.
Biopharmaceuticals—drugs developed and produced from biological substances including living organisms or cells—are considered superior to most chemical drugs currently being used and are believed to be less toxic and as effective. The market here is put at at Rs 600 crore.
Cipla executives admit it is talking to biotech firms in India and elsewhere. It is also a strategic partner of Bangalore-based biotech firm Avestha Gengraine Technologies. Cipla recently forged alliances with Japan’s LTT Bio-Pharma Co. Ltd for biotech versions of existing off-patent drugs and US biotechnology firm Biogenerics. It has not disclosed which drugs it will launch under these two tie-ups.
Hamied said Cipla could soon market some Avestha products. Managing director Amar Lulla said the company had looked at acquiring manufacturing facilities in China and Korea but withdrew “for the time being” as “valuations seem unrealistic.”