Ajanta out-licenses product to Taiwan firm

Ajanta out-licenses product to Taiwan firm

Setting a reverse trend in the Indian pharmaceutical industry, drug maker Ajanta Pharma Ltd has entered into an agreement to out-license the technology of its anti-scar product Vaniza to Orient Europharma of Taiwan.

Vaniza is a novel drug formulation of an off-patent drug—Poysiloxane, developed by Ajanta. Though several research-oriented Indian pharma companies have been licensing out their research assets to large multinational drug firms in the pre-drug development stage, there were very few instances of foreign companies buying marketing rights of novel formulations of generic drugs from India.

With this deal, Ajanta will allow Orient to market Vaniza in five foreign markets—Taiwan, Macau, Hong Kong, Singapore and Malaysia. The company will also transfer the manufacturing technology for an upfront lump sum payment and future revenue sharing. Ajanta says it expects a few hundred crores from the revenue-sharing deal in the next three years.

“This is one of the significant achievements that the company can be proud of. We have created a reverse trend in Indian pharma sector by licensing out an indigenously developed formulation technology to a foreign drug company for its international markets," said Yogesh Aggarwal, executive director, Ajanta Pharma.

Ajanta’s deal is significant, as Indian drug firms, currently starved for new launches since the advent of the product patent regime, have been in-licensing several drugs from abroad, to sustain market growth.

In the last two years, Indian drug firms—large as well as medium-sized—have signed at least 250 product in-licensing deals with foreign companies.

Since 2005, India’s top drug makers, including Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd, Cipla Ltd, Wockhardt Ltd, Nicholas Piramal India Ltd, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd and Cadila Healthcare Ltd, among others, have in-licensed several new and existing drug molecules and formulation technologies from foreign companies.

The Mumbai-based Elder Pharmaceutical Ltd, with more than 40 in-licensing deals with companies in the US, Europe and Japan, has launched the maximum number of products in the local market during the period.

Orient, with sales of $78.8 million (Rs325 crore in 2006, is one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in Taiwan. The company has a presence in a host of international markets as well. Orient Europharma will manufacture Vaniza in Taiwan and production is expected to start shortly.

Ajanta Pharma is a speciality pharma company that focuses on dermatology, cardiology and ophthalmology. Exports accounted for nearly 50% of Ajanta’s 2006-07 revenue of Rs266 crore.