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Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, CEO, Biocon’s enthusiastic response on the current scenario in Indian biotech industry says it all. “Of the US$ 70 billion global biopharmaceutical segment, US$ 40 billion will genericise over the next 5 years. EPO, Insulins and Monoclonal Antibodies are the key drivers of this biogeneric opportunity. Indian biopharmaceutical companies like Biocon, Dr Reddy’s, Intas and Wockhardt are positioning themselves for this emerging opportunity. Products like Insulin, EPO and GCSF are already there in Latin American, Asian and West Asian markets.”

Indian drug and biotech companies, which have introduced biogeneric products or indigenously developed copies of biotechnology drugs in the country, are confident about marketing “biogenerics" after the anticipated expiry of biotech patents in developed markets.

Companies such as Dr Reddy’s, Biocon, Reliance Life Sciences and Ranbaxy etc. are all strengthening their biogeneric processes and range of products to address the needs of future global demand. With the biotech industry—which has the biogenerics market worth almost US$ 125.6 million—opening up new vistas in the US and European markets, Indian companies are looking forward to capture a major chunk of the global biotech industry.

While companies such as Dr Reddy’s are integrating R&D into their entire gamut of products, Ranbaxy is outsourcing to smaller biotech companies such as Zenotech and Virchow Biotech.

The recent US Federal Drug Authority (FDA) announcement enabling an emergency use authorisation (EUA) for Tamiflu (generic Oseltamivir) as a drug for the swine flu virus outbreak comes as an encouraging booster for Indian generics companies, Cipla and Hetero Drugs, firms that manufacture Oseltamivir in India. Already, Hyderabad-based Hetero Drugs is supplying Oseltamivir, the generic version of Roche’s Tamiflu and anti-flu drug to the government as well as catering to WHO requirements. With a global alert sounded against the swineflu disease, Indian healthcare authorities have already taken steps to acquire and accumulate the stock pile of Tamiflu to counter any emergency that might arise. Supplies have also been sent to the US.

Experts predict that the overhead costs of clinical trials and the absence of substitutes may hinder Indian companies from replicating the success in biogenerics which they achieved in selling generic medicines.  Only those Indian companies willing to invest heavily into R&D will find this to be a feasible growth driver.

Smith is a business journalist, who covers the world economies,health and industries extensively. His writes columns and articles for various websites and internet journals. In the domain of economy and businesses, he is widely recognized.


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