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Piramal bets big on R&D; to invest Rs 200 cr in next 2 years

Piramal bets big on R&D; to invest Rs 200 cr in next 2 years
PTI
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First Published: Fri, Jul 31 2009. 12 49 PM IST
Updated: Fri, Jul 31 2009. 12 49 PM IST
New Delhi: Betting big on developing new drugs, Piramal Life Sciences (PSL), the R&D arm of Piramal Healthcare said it would pump in Rs200 crore in the next 2 years on research projects.
The company has lined up huge investments for developing new drugs and Rs200 crore would be a part of it.
“We must have spent Rs1,000 crore already on R&D. Its a gamble...” Piramal Healthcare director Strategic Alliances Swati Piramal told the agency.
PSL is a hived-off arm of Piramal healthcare and is working on 14 molecules which are in various stages of development.
Piramal said, on an average the development of every molecule requires an investment of around $100 million. By inference, developing 14 molecules would require funding in the region of $1.4 billion (around Rs 7,000 crore) spread over a 12-13 year period.
To a query on the sources of funding, she said, “the company is hopeful that one of its molecule may hit the market by 2011-12 bringing in some milestone payments, which would be further reinvested in R&D.”
Of the 14 molecules that are in various stages of development, 8 have entered the clinical stage.
“Out of the eight molecules, one indicated for head and neck cancer is currently undergoing stage II clinical trials in five different locations,” Piramal said.
She said, however, “I have high expectations from the molecule that is indicated for treating diabetes and was recently invited to make oral presentation to an American association.“
PSL is working on four major therapeutic areas- cancers, diabetics and metabolic disorders, inflammatory disorders and infections.
To a question whether there were offers from investors to hedge the risk, she said, “yes, they were willing to buy my whole company, but at a pittance. They won’t pay much now.”
She added that at this stage multinationals are not willing to pay much and once the molecule crosses phase II clinical stage the valuation will go up and the company may get better returns.
Asked for the worst case scenario, she said, “We would lose all our savings. That’s what has happened to thousands of biotech companies that doesn’t exist any more.”
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First Published: Fri, Jul 31 2009. 12 49 PM IST