Bangalore-based Biocon has forayed into the Gulf region with a 50:50 joint venture with Abu Dhabi-based Neopharma. The biotechnology major is also scouting for prospective acquisitions in the lucrative US and European markets.
"We are looking at various opportunities and considering several options, including acquisitions in the US and Europe," Biocon Chairman and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar Shaw said, while refusing to divulge any more details about this.
Shaw added Biocon’s focus in international markets would be on biopharmaceuticals and immunotherapeutic drugs. Shaw said the 50:50 joint venture with Neopharma "is an important milestone for Biocon’s global foray".
"The GCC region is an important market for Biocon. Neopharma has established a world-class manufacturing facility for finished formulations," she added.
The joint venture would leverage the position of Neopharma in the Gulf region and would expand its existing portfolio with a range of Biocon’s generic and novel therapeutics, encompassing diabetes, oncology, auto-immune and immuno-suppressive drugs.
According to Neopharma Group Chairman and CEO BR Shetty. "Neopharma’s foray into biotechnology will catalyse a wave of initiatives in the field in the region."
Neopharma is part of the $1.5 billion UAE-based New Medical Centre (NMC) Group — a core healthcare business conglomerate.
Biopharma and research in monoclonal antibodies might well turn out to be the next big thing for Indian drug companies with a $30 billion dollar global market awaiting to be tapped over the next few years.
Biopharmaceuticals are medicines made using biological processes rather than chemical synthesis. A number of medicines developed using recombinant DNA techniques are also called biopharmaceuticals.
Recombinant is a term used to describe drugs that have been produced using genetic engineering technique. The products are virtual replicas of compounds produced naturally by the body.
Biocon Ltd has recently launched Biomab-EGFR, a therapeutic antibody-based cancer drug. The drug, the first of its kind to be indigenously developed in the country, is prescribed for treating solid tumours of epithelial origin, such as those erupting in the head and neck.
The present global market size of monoclonal antibodies and biopharmaceuticals is estimated at $15 billion, and is expected to double by 2010.