Mumbai: Alembic Ltd, the maker of the cough preparation Glycodin which acquired part of Dabur’s pharmaceuticals business earlier this year is now eyeing a domestic maker of ophthalmic products as part of its inorganic growth strategy. “We plan to enter the ophthalmic segment through an acquisition in this space and we are in discussions to buy a company. The size of the deal could be about Rs100 crore,” said Chirayu R. Amin, chairman and managing director of Alembic. He declined to divulge further details.
Alembic ended 2006-07 with Rs700 crore in net sales.
The company said its target would have expertise in manufacturing ophthalmic products. “We can build on these technologies to grow our presence in the ophthalmic segment, both in the domestic market as well as in the international markets,” said Pradeep Rane, president-formulations business, Alembic.
Ophthalmics is a niche segment and unlike other categories in the domestic pharmaceutical market which are crowded, few companies such as Allergan India Pvt. Ltd and Cipla Ltd have a significant presence in it.
The domestic ophthalmology market is currently valued at around Rs400 crore and is growing at over 15%.
Alembic said it was also looking at other “high growth” segments. “We are also interested in companies that have a product portfolio focusing on gynaecology and dermatology,” said Amin. The company has not yet identified companies in these segments and is still scouting for likely targets.
The acquisitions will help Alembic diversify its portfolio; the company currently earns most of its revenue from anti-infective products. Alembic has also announced the signing of an out-licensing deal with Belgian pharmaceutical company, UCB, for proprietary technology it has developed.
Based on this technology, Alembic claims to have developed a once-a-day formulation version of UCB’s anti-epileptic drug Keppra. It will receive milestone payments of $11 million (Rs45.1 crore) and royalty on future worldwide net sales of the product. Keppra had sales of €761 million in 2006. The Alembic stock on Wednesday rose 12.53% to close at Rs65.10 on the Bombay Stock Exchange.