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Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint
Photo: Hemant Mishra/Mint

Khandelwal Labs in talks to sell oncology portfolio to Italy’s Menarini

Menarini India to carry out acquisition for about Rs170 crore

Drug maker Khandelwal Laboratories is in advanced talks to sell its oncology portfolio to Italy’s Menarini for close to Rs170 crore, two people familiar with the development said.

“The acquisition will be carried out by Menarini India, an arm of the $4.2 billion Menarini Group," said one of the two people, both of whom requested anonymity.

“Menarini has been actively looking for niche acquisitions in India," the second person added.

Emails sent to Khandelwal Labs and Menarini India had not elicited a response by the time of going to press. 

Menarini started operations in India in 1994 as Menarini Raunaq Pharma Ltd (MRPL), a joint venture with Raunaq Industries. In 2011, it acquired Invida Group, a leading contract service organization, which was renamed Menarini Asia-Pacific and subsequently merged with MRPL to form Menarini India.

Khandelwal Labs manufactures oncology products and also undertakes contract manufacturing for several drug makers in India and overseas.

Founded in 1945, the company is one of the early entrants to the Indian oncology formulations market and makes tablets, capsules, powder and liquid injectables that are sold in more than 30 countries in Africa, Latin America, South-East Asia and countries that constituted the former Soviet Union.

Khandelwal Labs has been granted 23 patents and, according to the company’s website, has an additional 199 patents in various stages of approval.

In 2008, Khandelwal Labs sold the Anafortan and CEFI brand groups to Nicholas Piramal for Rs116 crore. Anafortan (camylofin) is an anti-spasmodic drug for treating stomach cramps and ulcers, while CEFI (cefixime) is a third-generation cephalosporin antibiotic.

 The Indian pharmaceutical industry has seen several acquisitions in the recent past. In October, Intas Pharmaceuticals Ltd acquired Actavis UK Ltd and Actavis Ireland Ltd from Israeli generic drug maker Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd for an enterprise value of approximately £600 million (Rs5,083 crore) in an all-cash transaction. In July, RPG Lifesciences bought seven brands in the respiratory and urology segment for Rs41 crore from Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. 

According to a recent report by PwC, the Indian pharma industry is likely to be among the top 10 global markets in value terms by 2020 because of factors such as high burden of disease, good economic growth leading to higher disposable incomes, improvements in healthcare infrastructure and improved healthcare financing.

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