Hyderabad: Biopharmaceutical firm Biocon Ltd on Friday said its partner FUJIFILM Pharma Co. Ltd has launched insulin glargine in Japan.

The Japanese health regulator approved Biocon’s biosimilar version of long-acting insulin glargine in March.

Insulin glargine, which comes as an injection, has been developed and manufactured by Biocon, and is being commercialized by FUJIFILM in Japan.

Biocon said it will be providing high-quality, yet affordable insulin glargine for Japanese diabetic patients.

“The company through its partner aims to capture a significant share of the Japanese glargine market of $144 million, which is the second largest market outside North America and Europe and is largely dominated by disposable pens," the company said in a statement.

There were 7.2 million people with diabetes in Japan in 2015, according to the International Diabetes Federation.

“The launch of our biosimilar insulin glargine in Japan by our partner furthers our mission to provide affordable access to high quality biopharmaceuticals for chronic diseases," said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairman and managing director of Biocon.

“We believe with FUJIFILM Pharma’s commercial network, we will enable access to this world-class, prefilled disposable pen for better diabetes management for patients in Japan," Mazumdar-Shaw said.

The per capita spending on pharmaceuticals in Japan is the second highest among OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries after the US, and the government is striving to rationalize healthcare spending by encouraging the entry of high-quality, yet affordable follow-on biologics.

Biocon markets human insulin or rh-insulin and insulin glargine in India and several emerging markets.

The company currently has marketing approvals in over 60 countries for rh-insulin and in over 20 countries for insulin glargine.

It is also developing insulin glargine for the developed markets outside of Japan in collaboration with Mylan NV.

Analysts who track the company said the approval of insulin glargine and its subsequent launch in a highly regulated market like Japan is a vindication of Biocon’s scientific capabilities.

“It will be shot in the arm for the Biocon, as it plans to seek marketing approvals for its biosimilars in the US in FY17," said Afzaal Mohammed, pharma expert at Karvy Stock Broking Ltd.

Shares of Biocon fell 1.05% to 705.25 apiece on BSE, while the benchmark Sensex declined 0.38% to 27,836.50 points.

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