Mumbai: Bangalore-based biotech company Biocon Ltd is in the final stages of negotiation with a drug marketing and distribution firm in the US and an acquisition could be announced by the end of this year, according to a person who is familiar with the development and did not wish to be identified. A spokesperson for the company declined to comment on this issue.

Biocon Ltd MD Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

In July, Biocon sold its enzymes business to Denmark-based Novozymes A/S for $115 million (Rs465 crore then).

“Our strategy has been to become a dedicated biopharmaceuticals company with strong research focus and global presence. So, we will slowly move away from the generic business and the money that we could generate from these divestments we will re-invest in technologies and marketing infrastructure in biopharma space," said Mazumdar-Shaw.

Mazumdar-Shaw had previously spoken of the company’s acquisition strategy in an interview with Mint on 28 September, and on 18 October while announcing the company’s financial results for the three months ended 30 September.

Biocon announced its first overseas acquisition, of US-based Nobex Corp.’s research assets for a little more than $5 million, in 2006.

The company needs marketing infrastructure in US and European markets to sell a range of biotech products, including insulin brand Insugen and two other biopharmaceuticals, by 2008-09.

In the interview with Mint, Mazumdar-Shaw had said the company was “willing to start at the idea level" while picking potential acquisitions in the biotech product or technology space. “We have found a couple of such companies in the US and are looking closely at them," she had added.

Biocon was the first Indian insulin producer to seek approval from the US food and drug administration, the country’s drug regulator. The company has also presented the results of early clinical studies on its oral insulin product IN-105 to the European association for study of diabetes. Its biotech cancer drug BIOMab-EGFR, originally licensed from the Cuban institute CIMAB, is also expected to receive marketing approvals for the European markets soon.

“We have already created the manufacturing capability, which can cater to the anticipated global market requirement and our strategy now is to access those markets with strong networks," said Mazumdar-Shaw who spoke to Mint in Mumbai last week, on the sidelines of Pharma Summit 2007, an industry event organized by industry lobby Confederation of Indian Industry.

Biocon is also in the process of setting up a joint venture company in Dubai, along with Abu Dhabi-based drug maker Neopharma, to develop and market biopharmaceutical products for treatments of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, obesity and heart ailments in the West Asian market.