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Jupiter bets local tech will yield mega drug

Jupiter bets local tech will yield mega drug
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First Published: Tue, Mar 20 2007. 12 09 AM IST
Updated: Tue, Mar 20 2007. 12 09 AM IST
Hyderabad: Jupiter Bioscience, a maker of bulk chemicals and protein molecules used in medicines, has acquired the technology for a new drug to combat high blood pressure or hypertension from a former professor of the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, which it says will potentially reduce damage to the inner walls of blood vessels.
The Hyderabad company expects the drug to hit the market by 2012.
Arterial hypertension, which can be related to age, stress or genetic reasons, is fast emerging a public-health hazard as it affects about a sixth of the world population and, when uncontrolled, can lead to cardiac arrest, strokes or kidney failure.
Jupiter, which is acquiring the know-how for the new drug from T. Ramasarma, plans to take up process development, bio-equivalence studies and file a patent, Venkat R. Kalavakolanu, the company’s chairman and managing director, said.
The company will then tie up with a third party to conduct trials. When the drug clears clinical trials, Jupiter, which has bought manufacturing rights from Ramasarma, will make the drug at its Hyderabad facility. The company will also rope in a partner to market the drug.
“It will take at least two years to reach proof of concept stage, from where the drug will be taken up for clinical trials,” said Kalavakolanu, adding that he expects to have the drug developed in five years, and will target the US, Europe, Japan, India and other key markets.
Kalavakolanu declined to give the terms of the agreement with Ramasarma or revenue projections for the drug.
The Jupiter drug is expected to moderate levels of nitric oxide, an important molecular regulator of blood pressure released by the inner walls of arteries. High blood pressure inactivates the release of nitric oxide, leading to reduced elasticity of arterial walls.
“Continued decrease in nitric oxide results in further heart complications,” he said.
If successfully tested and introduced, the Jupiter drug will compete against market-leading anti-hypertensive medicines such as Caslot, Candesar, Covance and Starval made by Ranbaxy Laboratories, India’s biggest drug maker, and Cantar, made by Dr Reddy’s Laboratories. Cipla markets Carloc, while Sun Pharma sells its blood-pressure medication under the Irovel brand name.
In India, about 200 million people suffer high blood pressure.
According to a report by the George Washington University Medical Center, Washington, the global market for anti-hypertensive drugs is expected to touch $50 billion (Rs2,20,000 crore) by 2009, up from $35 billion in 2005, the latest year for which data is available. Global giants such as Pfizer, Novartis, Bristol Myers Squibb, Sanofi, Mylan, Apotex and Synthon are key players in the hypertension segment.
Norvasc is a blockbuster drug of Pfizer with an estimated annual sales of $2.5 billion in the US. The other big markets for hypertensive drugs are the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Spain.
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First Published: Tue, Mar 20 2007. 12 09 AM IST
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