Home/ Companies / News/  Aurobindo plans major push into oncology space

Hyderabad: Aurobindo Pharma Ltd is planning a major push to launch high-margin anti-cancer and hormone drugs, targeting a revenue of $3 billion in the next two years.

In a recent investor presentation, the company said it is working on a pipeline of 15 anti-cancer drugs and plans to prepare exhibit batches for injectables from the current fiscal year.

Aurobindo will start filing for approvals in highly regulated markets like the US and Europe, once the exhibit batches are completed, a company spokesperson said. The company was the top Indian drug maker in terms of generic launches in the US this financial year.

The drug pipeline under preparation includes cytotoxic drugs in solid and parenteral (injectable) dosage forms, the company said.

Aurobindo said it has completed the first exhibit batches for three hormone products with filing expected in the current fiscal year.

Hormone drugs help inhibit growth of cancerous cells, thereby suppressing cancer.

Aurobindo didn’t disclose specific details of its oncology and hormone product pipeline or the market value of the drugs it’s chasing.

The global market for cancer drugs hit $100 billion in annual sales in 2014, and could reach $147 billion by 2018, according to a May 2015 report by the IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, a unit of US-based healthcare information provider IMS Health.

Sales of generic oncology drugs are expected to be around $20 billion by 2018, of which developed markets will account for around 70%.

The Aurobindo spokesperson said oncology and hormone drug development was conducted by Eugia Pharma Specialties Ltd, a venture with Sequoia-backed Celon Laboratories Ltd, established in 2013. Aurobindo holds a 60% stake in Eugia, while Celon holds the rest. Both companies have committed to an investment of about 180-200 crore.

Aurobindo said a dedicated research and development centre was set up by Eugia to develop oncology and hormonal products, both for solid and parenteral or injectable dosage forms, along with a state-of-the-art manufacturing facility to produce these drugs at Shamirpet in Hyderabad once they are approved by regulatory agencies.

“Oncology is a high-margin business," said Afzaal Mohammed, pharma expert at Karvy Stock Broking Ltd.

“But small molecule oncology is a crowded space, with well-established rivals like Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd, Lupin Ltd, Dr.Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd and Natco," Mohammed said. “Aurobindo has to do a lot of catch-up."

Aurobindo also said it’s planning to expand into new geographies like Poland and the Czech Republic.

Aurobindo has operations in nine Western European countries with sales in Europe of around $523 million in the year ended March.

The company said it has over 200 products under development.

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Updated: 09 Feb 2016, 05:11 PM IST
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