PHARMACY

Dr. Reddy’s to form follow-on biologics joint venture

BY Adam Kraemer

HYDERABAD, India Dr Reddy’s, India’s third-biggest drug maker, is forming a joint venture with an as-yet-unnamed biotech company to make biosimilars in competition with Ranbaxy Laboratories, Reliance Life Sciences and other Indian companies, as several biologics come off-patent in the next five years.

“The joint venture will be in place during the current fiscal year,” G V Prasad, Dr. Reddy’s vice-chairman and chief executive officer, told India’s Business Standard. “The partner will have the technological expertise and global reach on developing biosimilars, which is a high-reward, high-risk business.”

The partners would initially focus on potential areas such as off-patent biotech cancer drugs and were planning to work initially on about eight potential products, said Prasad. “It is too early to reveal more on the ongoing discussions and modalities of the proposed joint venture,” he added.

Dr Reddy’s has a biologics development center in Hyderabad, with a 250-member scientific team, and has already developed and launched a few biogenerics, including Reditux, a generic version of Roche’s Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma drug. The combined market for biosimilars, also known as follow-on biologicals, is expected to touch $21 billion by 2015 in the United States and Europe.

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Eisai receives not approvable letter for Aquavan

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK The Food and Drug Administration has denied approval for a sedative for patients receiving minor medical procedures, according to published reports Friday.

The FDA sent Eisai a not-approvable letter for Aquavan, citing insufficient evidence showing that health-care providers without training in general anesthesia could use it safely.

Aquavan (fospropofol disodium injection) was developed by MGI Pharma, which Eisai bought for $3.9 billion in January.

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Sanofi-Aventis to acquire Acambis in $550 million deal

BY Alaric DeArment

NEW YORK French drug maker Sanofi-Aventis will buy United Kingdom-based Acambis in an agreement announced Friday.

Sanofi-Aventis will pay $550.7 million for the British vaccine maker, or $3.79 a share.

Sanofi-Aventis has had a partnership with Acambis since November through its subsidiary, Sanofi Pasteur. The two companies were commercializing vaccines against dengue fever, Japanese encephalitis and West Nile virus. Acambis is also developing vaccines against flu and herpes and won a 10-year, $425 million contract with the United States government to supply a smallpox vaccine.

“This mutually beneficial acquisition is a logical step building upon Sanofi Pasteur and Acambis’ decade-long partnership on key projects to develop and market vaccines of the future,” stated Wayne Pisano, chief executive officer of Sanofi Pasteur.

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