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Eli Lilly India to look beyond diabetes, focus on cancer

business Updated: Mar 03, 2016 19:06 IST
Himani Chandna
Himani Chandna
Hindustan Times
Eli Lilly,diabetes,oncology

Edgard Olaizola: redefining comfort zones.(Handout)

American drug maker Eli Lilly, which is known for its huge portfolio of anti-diabetes drugs, is stepping out of its comfort zone.

The company, which has been in India for 23 years now, makes about 85% of its turnover from diabetes drugs. Now, it plans to launch four products in the next three years, with new focus areas including oncology and auto-immune diseases. “We are looking to launch three or four products in the next three years across oncology, auto-immuno and diabetes. We are also focussing on drugs for osteoporosis, Alzheimer’s and pain-relief,” Edgard Olaizola, managing director, Eli Lilly India told HT.

“We are evaluating multiple launches in India as we have robust pipeline of drugs,” Olaizola said. “They all are on either the third phase of clinical trials or have already been filed for regulatory approvals.”

However, diabetes still remains the company’s key focus, in which it has rolled out once-a-week diabetes treatment Trulicity (dulaglutide) in India.

Lilly believes that oncology is one of the new focus therapeutic areas, as consumer awareness for cancer and cancer-related treatment is growing across India and it makes sense to invest in these areas. Over the past year, Indian drugmakers including Biocon, Glenmark and Dabur have started working towards buttressing their product pipelines with cancer-fighting drugs, reflecting a global trend.

Research company Allied Market Research estimates that the cancer therapy business will hit $111.9 billion in sales by 2020, from the present $100 billion sales .

To the companies, such a pipeline could spell higher revenues and profits. To cancer patients in the country, it could mean affordable drugs as an increase in supply could bring down prices .

First Published: Mar 03, 2016 19:06 IST