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Novo, Torrent may widen tie-up

Currently, Torrent Pharmaceuticals manufactures insulin for Novo Nordisk at its Gujarat facility from crystals imported from Denmark. istock
Currently, Torrent Pharmaceuticals manufactures insulin for Novo Nordisk at its Gujarat facility from crystals imported from Denmark. istock

Summary

  • Talks have started at a time Novo Nordisk is looking to launch its weight-loss drug Wegovy in India by 2026

New Delhi: Novo Nordisk India Pvt. Ltd, the local subsidiary of Danish pharmaceutical major Novo Nordisk, is in early talks with Torrent Pharmaceuticals Ltd to expand their manufacturing partnership, a top company executive said.

“It is a formidable partnership," managing director Vikrant Shrotriya said, noting it has stood the test of time over three decades. “I believe they have been a very reliable partner. So, we have been evaluating on expanding our partnership with them," Shrotriya said in an interview.

“We are considering whether this (existing capacity) is sufficient. Probably, there is time before we might be working on an expansion," he said. However, Shrotriya did not share any details on the ongoing discussions.

Currently, Torrent Pharmaceuticals manufactures insulin for Novo Nordisk at its Gujarat facility from crystals imported from Denmark.

Discussions have started at a time the company is looking to launch its weight-loss drug, Wegovy, in India by 2026. The companies have initiated the pre-launch process, including applying for regulatory approvals.

“There are always plans, and we are trying it as early as possible. We are working to create the pre-launch processes in terms of creating awareness. We are building capacity and working with doctors to create awareness, working on training courses, so that they understand obesity better," he said. “Once we are done with awareness, and penetrating India’s insulin market, we will be finalizing obesity product launches as well."

Wegovy made its debut in the US in 2021 and was subsequently launched in several European markets, including the UK. The company maintained that it may not launch the drug in developing countries since it was not being able to meet the demand of developed countries.

Novo enjoys a 50% Indian market share for insulin, catering to 3-4 million patients with capacities of 40-50 million vials. It is planning deeper penetration into the market.

India’s insulin market is estimated to be around 4,000 crore, growing in high single digits. India’s oral anti-diabetic drug market, however, is much bigger at 14,000 crore and is growing at about 11% per annum. Novo is looking to enter this segment.

“There is a lot awareness required in terms of moving from oral medicine to insulin, which is better for the patient. A lot of awareness is required on that front, too," he said.

According to a study, India is estimated to have 101 million diabetics, and nearly 136 million are pre-diabetic.

India and Denmark are also in talks to adopt parts of Danish regulatory practices in India, said Freddy Svane, Denmark’s ambassador to India.

“We are big time moving into regulatory collaborations. Our regulatory authorities are well known for their capabilities, and so forth. So, we are in a discussion and dialogue… how to bring in our regulatory skills, that would help India be more prepared for whatever comes."

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