Biocon sees India business growth, boost from Mylan pact

Biocon sees India business growth, boost from Mylan pact

Bangalore: Biocon Ltd, India’s top listed biotechnology firm, expects its branded formulations business in India to double this fiscal year as it launches new products, its chairman said.

Biocon, which makes insulin, cholesterol-lowering statins and other branded drugs, is also talking to companies to license out its oral insulin, the clinical trials of which are expected to end in March next year, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw told Reuters in an interview on Tuesday.

The company is not planning to develop an H1N1 vaccine even though sales of vaccines to contain the pandemic are expected to provide a windfall for the global drugs industry.

“I don’t think Biocon wants to get into swine flu. We did look at it but we just felt that it was going to be wasted resources because there are so many companies looking at swine flu vaccines," Mazumdar-Shaw said.

“It is already a crowded space and finally when it does come into the market it is a very short-term opportunity because swine flu will pass on and something else will come."

Bangalore-based Biocon, which sells over 50 branded drugs in India for treating diabetes, cancer and diseases related to heart and kidney, plans to generate Rs200 crore ($41 million) in sales in India this year, from about Rs100 crore last year.

In 10 years, the branded formulations business in India will bring in 20-25% of the company’s total revenue, which rose 53% to Rs1,673 crore in the year that ended in March 2009, Mazumdar-Shaw said.

“This business is certainly going to be a very, very robust business for us," said Mazumdar-Shaw, who set up Biocon in her garage in Bangalore in 1978 after following her father to take a master’s brewing degree in Australia.

Biocon is talking to a few companies to sign a licensing pact to launch its innovative oral insulin in global markets, including in India, she said. The India launch of the drug is expected towards the end of 2011.

Analysts say the oral insulin will be a key growth driver for Biocon in the next few years.

Mazumdar-Shaw said the company could enter into a licensing pact for oral insulin next year depending on the outcome of the final phase clinical trials and regulatory approvals.

“There is a lot of interest in oral insulin," she said, but refused to give details on its licensing talks.

Biocon entered into a pact with US drugmaker Mylan in June to collaborate for the development, manufacturing, supply and commercialisation of multiple generic biotech medicines for the global marketplace.

Mazumdar-Shaw, who is on Forbes’ 2009 list of the world’s 100 most powerful women, said Biocon would start seeing "good revenue flow" from the Mylan deal in the next two years as the companies first tap the emerging markets.

As part of the agreement, both firms will share development, capital and other costs to bring the products to market.

Biocon has been seeing increased sales of insulin products, which it exports to about a dozen countries in Latin America, the Middle East and Southeast Asia. It plans to launch insulin in Europe in 18 to 24 months, Mazumdar-Shaw said.

The company had announced plans for an initial public offering of its research unit, Syngene, in the last fiscal year but it was subsequently shelved due to the global market turmoil.

Mazumdar-Shaw said Biocon was still very seriously looking at the listing and it could be possible in the next fiscal year.

Biocon expects its expenditure on research and development to increase between Rs750 million and Rs900 million in the year to March 2010 from about 600 million last year as it sharpens its focus on new drug discovery.