Mid-sized drug firms in deals with MNCs to tap generic marts post-07

Chennai, March 24 | Updated: Mar 25 2005, 05:30am hrs
Domestic generic drug makers are on a deal-signing spree overseas to cash in on the multi-billion dollar generic opportunity in regulated markets once many blockbuster drugs go off patent from 2007.

While big daddies prefer to go solo in US and European markets with their own brands and through acquisitions, mid-sized pharma firms, who have strong domain knowledge but smaller wallets, are sewing up drug development and marketing pacts with MNC partners to exploit the post-2007 opportunity.

For beginners, Cipla had entered into drug development and marketing agreements with a number of generic drug majors for a number of products in the US. The company had recently tied up with the US-based Pentech Pharmaceuticals for developing and marketing a range of generic products in the theraputic and lifestyle segments. The agreement is to develop two new products initially but could be extended to include more drugs at a later stage. Cipla now has strategic alliances with the US big names like Watson, Ivax, Eon and Morton Grove. Similarly, Lupin had a similar arrangement with Cornerstone Bio Pharma through its subsidiary Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc for its anti-infective drug Suprax.

Kopran, another generic drug maker, has recently decided to shift its focus from the domestic market to international market to take advantage of the off-patent opportunity.

The company is reportedly in talks with a number of US and European drug majors to enter into development and marketing alliances for the generic version of their drugs which go off patent shortly. Domestic pharma giant Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd had a similar agreement with Schwarz Pharma AG of Germany for the development of RBx2258 molecule which is for the treatment of Benign Prostate Hyperplasia (BPH) ailment.