London: India’s Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd is to develop new anti-infective drugs for Merck & Co Inc, in a major deal underlining the growing use of Indian pharmaceutical research by multinational companies.
Ranbaxy will carry out drug discovery and clinical development through Phase IIa clinical trials, with the U.S. drugmaker responsible for later development and commercialisation, the companies said in a statement on Monday.
The Indian group will get an undisclosed upfront sum and could receive more than $100 million for each drug target, depending on successful development and regulatory approval. It will also be entitled to royalties under the five-year deal.
The tie-up reflects a drive by Ranbaxy, which is best known as a generic drug producer, to increase its activities in discovering novel medicines. It already has a sizeable research agreement with GlaxoSmithKline Plc.
“We believe that our philosophy of partnering with Big Pharma will continue to gather momentum as companies continue to recognize the strength and breadth of our R&D expertise and resources,” Ranbaxy Chief Executive Malvinder Singh said.
“This collaboration with Merck positions Ranbaxy to extend its capability set and move up the value chain for drug discovery and development,” Singh added.
The Merck collaboration will focus on finding both new anti-bacterial and anti-fungal drug candidates.