• 11 July 2008
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Eli Lilly

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Eli Lilly

Formidable presence

Eli Lilly launched Byetta, a new class of drug for Type B diabetics and has plans to launch new products in the coming years.

Eli Lilly and Company (India) is a 100 percent subsidiary of the US pharmaceutical major, Eli Lilly and Company. The company first came to India in 1993 as a JV with Ranbaxy. It became a wholly owned subsidiary in 2001 when Lilly bought the 50 percent stake held by Ranbaxy and since then the company has established a formidable presence in cardiology, diabetes and oncology amongst other therapeutic segments. Lilly India has five products from the biotechnology stable. All injectibles, they are human insulin (including human insulin analogs), human growth hormone, Teriparatide (Forteo), Drotrecogin Alfa (Xigris) and Exenatide (Byetta). Overall, diabetes care product range contributes roughly 60 percent of the Lilly India revenue.

In the biotech category, the company grew an impressive 20 percent in 2007 clocking revenue of Rs 137 crore compared to Rs 114 crore in 2006. The company's recent product launches include Byetta that was introduced in October 2007. The drug belongs to a new category called "incretin mimetics" and is a unique treatment option for Type 2 diabetics, more specifically for patients who have maxed out on the OHA's (oral hypoglycemic agents). According to Sandeep Gupta, CMD, Lilly, "Byetta is a first-in-class product. These are early days, however within 3-4 months from its launch, nearly 1000 patients have been put on the therapy across India." Forteo, Lilly's novel therapy that 'rebuilds' bones and is used for treating women with osteoporosis, registered a whopping growth of almost 100 percent in 2007 as compared to the previous year.

Lilly India recently tied up with an Ahmedabad-based Contract Sales Organization (CSO), PharmaLink, to further enhance its reach in large towns while maintaining adequate coverage in smaller markets. The company also divested its premium antibiotic brand, Distaclor. This was done with a view to augment company focus on its range of new products. Also in a global deal, the company entered into a unique drug development agreement with Mumbai-based Nicholas Piramal India Ltd (NPIL) in 2007. Under this partnership, Lilly has outlicensed a molecule for 'metabolic disorder' to NPIL with an arrangement to do research till phase III and if the product is found to show the desired potential, Lilly has the "call-back" option after making a payment to Nicholas for the same.

On the CSR front, the company recently announced an additional $15 million to the "Lilly-MDR-TB Partnership" making the company's global financial commitment to this partnership reach an astounding $135 million. The partnership was first announced in 2003 to confront multi drug-resistant tuberculosis and has mobilized 18 global partners on five continents till now. Commenting on Lilly India's future plans, Gupta said, "We plan to launch 5-6 new products over the next four-five years. We would look at products in the area of diabetes care and oncology and would be open to exploring other therapeutic areas as well. Ultimately, it would depend on what products come through the Lilly pipeline that has relevance to the affiliate strategy."

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