Piramal Healthcare India (PHIL), formerly Nicholas Piramal, is scouting for acquisitions to entrench itself in the billion dollar global anaesthesia market — an annual sales opportunity worth around Rs 4,700 crore. It might borrow funds to finance its deals.
The company is also looking at a sustained Rs 150 crore-per-year investment in its BSE-listed R&D affiliate, Piramal Life Sciences (PLS), which is currently being funded by Piramal Healthcare, the company’s chief financial officer N Santhanam told Hindustan Times.
PHIL’s critical care business, of which anaesthesia is a part, currently has a few gaps, Santhanam said. These include Propofol injections and spinal & epidural anaesthetics. These have to be filled through acquisitions, he added.
“We were looking for a strategic partner for our research and development arm. When the market fell, we were funding it. Let the market revive, we will get back to looking for partners. We will get equity into that company,” he said.
Possible funding could come from multinational pharmaceutical companies, private equity or the equity markets, analysts said, since the R&D company already has a pipeline of drugs it has been working on.
PLS is working on a head-and-neck cancer molecule, which has gone into Phase II trials, when the efficacy of a medicine is determined through trials on small number of human subjects. After successful completion, it goes on to phase III, where large-scale trials are done.
The company intends to go it alone in marketing it once it is cleared, Santhanam said.
The R&D push would complement PHIL’s new anaesthesia business, where the company is looking to buy out companies that would help it gain a foothold among hospital chains in US and Europe.