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Business News/ Science / Health/  Biocon leads India's push into blockbuster weight-loss drugs as patents for Saxenda, Wegovy and Ozempic set to expire
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Biocon leads India's push into blockbuster weight-loss drugs as patents for Saxenda, Wegovy and Ozempic set to expire

Biocon has won approval from the UK regulator for the first generic version of liraglutide injectible, which is losing patent protection in November.

Biocon had filed the UK application for an anti-obesity medication through its European partner Zentiva SA.Premium
Biocon had filed the UK application for an anti-obesity medication through its European partner Zentiva SA.

Biocon Ltd is leading India’s push into weight loss drugs as patents for some of the blockbuster medications are set to expire.

The pharma company has won approval from the UK regulator for the first generic version of liraglutide injectible, which is losing patent protection in November.

Novo Nordisk’s weight loss drug, sold under the brand name Saxenda, is among the first anti-obesity medications to lose patent protection.

ALSO READ: Can weight loss drugs like Ozempic, Wegovy treat other diseases?

“My leadership team and organisation is ensuring that we do not give up the lead position we have now," Biocon chief executive officer (CEO) Siddharth Mittal said in an interview, according to Bloomberg.

He also said that another 15 peptide formulations are under development, of which one or two drugs will seek regulatory approval this year.

Biocon has also filed applications before the US and European regulators for liraglutide.

The company has not yet filed for liraglutide approval in India.

Anti-obesity market

Several pharma companies are eager to enter the anti-obesity market, which is expected to touch $100 billion by 2030.

Saxenda is said to be less effective for weight loss than Wegovy and Ozempic, but its generic version is just the beginning of a jackpot that drugmakers like Biocon are awaiting.

Patents on Ozempic and Wegovy will expire in the coming years, which will allow cheaper copies of the medication to flood the market.

In the UK, Biocon will wait for the publicly funded National Health Services to float a tender to launch its liraglutide injectible, said Mittal, as per the Bloomberg report.

ALSO READ: Novo Nordisk pays $25.8 million to promote its obesity drug

Biocon had filed the UK application through its European partner Zentiva SA.

The total addressable UK market opportunity for GLP-1 in diabetes and weight loss is $425 million, according to a March 27 statement by Biocon.

Indian drugmakers Sun Pharmaceutical Industries, Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, and Cipla are also developing their anti-obesity drugs. 

Novo Nordisk, which sells its semaglutide-based pill Rybelsus in India, is planning to introduce Wegovy and Ozempic in 2026, according to a Reuters report in February. 

Eli Lilly is conducting clinical trials in the country for its weight-loss pill orforglipron.

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Published: 08 Apr 2024, 04:54 PM IST
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