‘Doxil nod validates our capability to develop complex products’

Feb 08 2013, 03:01 IST
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SummaryLike other major Indian pharma companies, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries too has been reaping rich gains from its US operations, with US formulation sales contributing 49% to overall revenues in the September quarter.

Like other major Indian pharma companies, Sun Pharmaceutical Industries too has been reaping rich gains from its US operations, with US formulation sales contributing 49% to overall revenues in the September quarter. Earlier this week, the US FDA, the federal drug watchdog, allowed the company to sell the generic version of Janssen R&D LLC’s ovarian cancer drug Doxil. The injectable drug has an estimated annual global sales of between $200-300 million, and analysts estimates Sun to get incremental revenues of around R276 crore annually from this alone. Meanwhile Taro, the Israeli firm in which Sun Pharma owns 66.7% and has a substantial presence in the US, said its net profit grew 43% on strong US sales for the December quarter, largely driven by price hikes. Dilip Shanghvi, managing director, Sun Pharma talks about the prospects in the US and in other geographies in an interview with MG Arun.

How significant is the FDA’s recent move to approve generic Doxil for Sun Pharma? How much incremental revenues do you envisage for Sun from this?

Fairly important, and it validates our scientific strength and capability to develop complex technology-based products. It is a matter of great pride for all at Sun Pharma, especially our R&D, manufacturing and regulatory teams. On this occasion, the FDA announced the approval of the first generic version of Doxil via press release, which underlines the importance of the development for the FDA and the US public in general. While we’ve not shared specific revenue estimates from generic Doxil, it should be an interesting product.

From the perspective of patients, how will this drug be advantageous?

Liposomal Doxorubicin is used in the treatment of ovarian cancer. Ensuring a steady supply for a drug that was previously in acute short supply will allow treatment protocols to be completed effectively.

Sun Pharma has been aggressive in the US market, with two recent acquisitions and a host of launches from Taro. What potential do you see in the US market going ahead, especially in the context of the so-called ‘patent-cliff’?

We’re optimistic about the opportunity the $50 billion-plus US generic market offers to companies that are integrated and quick to market.

Sun Pharma is looking to buy all the outstanding shares of Taro not currently held by the former at $39.59 a piece. However, the recent spurt in Taro shares could make the buy tough, analysts said. What are your views?

Our offer is $39.50.

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