• 4 February 2009
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Biocon's group revenue gains 46 percent
Biocon's group revenues for the nine months ended December 31, 2008, has increased by  46 percent from Rs 811 crore in FY 2008 to Rs 1,187 crore in FY 2009. The biopharma sales (excluding Axicorp) registered 13 percent growth, bolstered by a 42 percent growth in the retail healthcare business.  Research services of the company touched 21 percent sales growth in the last nine months of FY 2009.
Syngene continued its growth run by delivering a 16 percent quarter on quarter increase in revenues in Q3 of FY 2009. AxiCorp delivered modest profitability in line with expectation. Currently, AxiCorp is a pure distribution business with relatively low margins. The strategic relevance of AxiCorp will crystallize when the bio-similar Insulin opportunities open up in Europe.
Exceptional  charge  relating to forex hedging in Q3 of FY 2009 has increased to Rs 46 crore. This is on account of MTM provisioning and cancellation of certain  longer  term forward covers. This charge on year-to-date basis stands  at  Rs 106 crore. Biocon's EBITDA (excluding AxiCorp) for the  nine months ended December 31, 2008 stands at Rs 270 crore (Rs 240 crore, last year) with an operating margin of 30 percent. The company's IN105 (Oral Insulin) program has received regulatory permission to commence phase-III clinical trials in type 2 diabetics. 
Biocon has won the IDMA (Indian Drug Manufacturers Association) award for the best patent during the Year 2007-2008 by an Indian company.  The said patent forms the basis of Biocon's oral insulin molecule, IN105.
Commenting on the results, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, chairman and managing director, Biocon Limited, said: “Biocon's operational performance remains on a growth track.  At a time when many sectors face a severe slowdown, we believe that Biocon has a unique opportunity to leverage affordable R&D base and forge partnerships that will deliver large contract research, manufacturing and co-development opportunities over the next five years. Syngene continues to improve its performance by delivering its best ever sales and operating profit in Q3.”
“Clinigene is positioned to be a key player in the CRO segment where India is emerging as an important global destination for clinical development. We are making excellent progress on the research front with our oral insulin IN105 program, that is set to enter phase-III clinical trials during this quarter. We have also completed a successful non-inferiority phase-III clinical trial for Glargine, a basal Insulin analog. The trial data has been submitted to the DCGI for marketing approval,” Kiran added. 

Apotex, Intas extend collaborative development
Apotex Inc. of Canada and Intas Biopharmaceuticals Limited (IBPL) of India have extended their business agreement to develop a biosimilar version of pegfilgrastim, a protein that is used to treat neutropenia (a side effect of cancer chemotherapy). Neupeg, a recombinant pegylated granulocyte colony stimulating factor is already manufactured and marketed in India and other countries by IBPL.
Both companies, IBPL and Apotex are eying a significant share of total Peg GCSF market in North America, which is currently estimated to be around $3.5 billion annually. This collaboration gives Apotex the rights to market the product in North America (US and Canada), Europe and selected other countries. After announcing the launch of first GSCF generic for North America in May 2008, the extension of collaboration between the two companies makes IBPL the first Indian biopharmaceutical company to announce the launch of Peg GCSF for North America and European markets.
Dr Jeremy B Desai, executive vice president, Apotex said, “This agreement represents an important milestone for Apotex, as it continues to build the organization's biosimilars pipeline.”
Speaking on the development, Mani Iyer, executive director, Intas Biopharmaceuticals Limited, said, “This agreement is a step forward to the vision that we all work for to become a global biopharmaceutical company. This will provide accessibility of Neupeg to people outside the subcontinent, who are currently relying heavily on innovator's brand and other substitutes.”

Ocimum Biosolutions ties up with NuGEN
Ocimum Biosolutions, a leading integrated genomics company, based in Hyderabad, announced that it is now an authorized provider for services using NuGEN Ovation systems for sample preparation. This partnership enables researchers in India, for the first time, to conduct gene expression profiling from a wide range of clinically relevant sample types, such as small, compromised, or formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded (FFPE) tissues.
Anu Acharya, CEO of Ocimum Biosolutions says, “We are very happy to announce this partnership with NuGEN since we believe that this is an important step towards becoming a truly integrated, world-class genomic service provider. Our subsidiary, Gene Logic, has had a long-standing and fruitful relationship with NuGEN for many years to support our customers' clinical studies in the drug development process. By leveraging NuGEN's expertise and established presence in RNA amplification and sample preparation, we have enhanced our genomic services repertoire and now can also better meet our international customers' needs, especially when working with limited and challenging clinical samples.”
The family of Ovation RNA amplification and labeling products from NuGEN enables life scientists to conduct sensitive, robust, global gene expression profiling and novel signature discovery using a variety of challenging biological samples and gene expression platforms. Ovation Systems are designed for use with a broad range of sample types such as FFPE tissues, whole blood, tissue biopsies, laser-captured micro-dissected cells, and sorted cells. NuGEN achieved ISO 13485:2003 certification in early 2008 for its quality management systems to support the company's customers in meeting mandated regulatory processes.
As an authorized service provider, Ocimum will receive specialized training from NuGEN's technical team. This will ensure they are highly proficient with NuGEN's technology and can generate high-quality data from customers' precious samples. To provide advanced support to their customers, Ocimum Biosolutions and NuGEN will work together to develop additional customer resources, such as online seminars and technology updates.

Syngene to expand integrated drug discovery offerings
Syngene International, a subsidiary of Biocon group, has announced that it will offer fully integrated drug discovery services by partnering with Sapient Discovery, a US based biotechnology company.  
Syngene provides integrated chemistry, biology and biologics services to support development programs of pharmaceutical and biotech companies worldwide on a platform of confidentiality and intellectual property protection. While Sapient Discovery is an established leader in structure-guided drug discovery company with a number of proprietary algorithms and capabilities for efficient protein structure based drug discovery and optimization.
“Sapient Discovery's proprietary genes-to-leads, fragments-to-leads and X-ray crystallography technologies provide dramatic reductions in the time and costs associated with compound synthesis and screening and expands the horizons of chemical diversity potentially applicable to novel or even well studied drug targets”, according to Kal Ramnarayan, president and CSO, Sapient Discovery. He also added that Sapient Discovery's fragments-to-leads assures the novelty of identified lead molecules for protein targets, since the 10,000 plus fragment collection at Sapient Discovery can aid in the ultimate synthesis of novel, patentable lead molecules in a short time span.
“The challenges posed by the rapidly growing number of new drug targets will be greatly benefited by the integration of supercomputer-based virtual screening and X-ray crystallography methods with laboratory screening technologies. These techniques are likely to play an increasingly important role in drug discovery and optimization in the future”, said Dr. Goutam Das, COO of Syngene International.
The companies intend to provide a highly integrated platform for structure-based drug discovery with one stop shop for structure-guided discovery, chemistry, biology and structural biology capabilities.

GVK BIO, Crelux set up drug discovery platform
GVK Biosciences and Crelux have announced that they have set-up a fragment-based drug discovery (FBDD) platform to deliver rapidly, viable lead  molecules. Crelux's structural biology technologies together with GVK BIO's computer-assisted drug design (CADD) tools and  other components of its drug discovery and development engine, encompass all steps from challenging targets to novel drug candidates.
“Collaborating  with GVK BIO in a fast emerging competitive area like fragment-based drug discovery is a strong appreciation of our high quality services.  Together  we  have generated a one-stop-shop  from  target to Investigational New Drug (IND) and  support our customers  with  comprehensive drug  discovery  services,”  commented  Dr Michael Schäffer, CEO, Crelux.
“GVK  BIO  is committed to further advance the discovery tools and services that are needed to systematically profit from the enhanced understanding of biochemical  pathways  and  important molecular target families,” said Sven Wagner, vice president, business development, GVK BIO.
“With  a  strong  alliance  partner  like  Crelux, GVK BIO is moving in the direction of its vision of being a global leader in life-sciences services,” said Manni Kantipudi, president, GVK BIO.

Celestial Biologicals, GE Healthcare to set up plasma fractionation facility
Celestial Biologicals Ltd (CBL) and GE Healthcare have announced a collaboration to set up India's first good manufacturing practice (GMP) compliant plasma fractionation facility in Ahmedabad. The facility will be first of its kind in India. The collaboration will include appropriate technology, products, processes and project development for establishing the plasma fractionation facility. A MoU was signed between Celestial Biologicals and GE Healthcare at the Vibrant Gujarat Global Investors Summit 2009. The facility will be fully functional by early 2010.
The market demand for blood products is dynamic and currently plasma products are imported from other countries. It is estimated that one million liters of plasma is required annually in India to meet current clinical demands. Hence, local manufacture is the key to providing plasma products at affordable prices to Indian patients.
“With a comprehensive life sciences facility such as the CBL, a diverse range of solutions and process support are required. GE Healthcare demonstrated an attractive proposition because as a key healthcare and life sciences infrastructure provider, they presented a holistic approach to cater for multiple aspects of CBL projects seamlessly,” said Dr Urmish Chudgar, managing director, Intas Biopharmaceuticals Limited.
Under this collaboration, CBL and GE Healthcare will jointly set up a pilot Plasma Fractionation facility of approximately 15,000 liter to 40,000 liter capacity for at least four products at CBL's existing GMP-compliant facility. The companies will plan scale-up of the plasma fractionation facility to 300,000 liter capacity simultaneously. Celestial Biologicals will also explore the possibility of utilizing the facility for the purpose of contract fractionation. Celestial Biologicals is the first company to undertake organized collection of plasma, which is key to the plasma fractionation process. It will also explore the possibility of utilizing the facility for the purpose of contract fractionation.
Both companies will work together in the area of developing the desired technology for plasma fractionation thereby enabling the companies to leverage their respective strengths in the areas of biotechnology and transfusion medicine and research. The joint plan of action is to successfully execute the implementation of well-established chromatography technology for processing plasma (recovered and source plasma) and recover high yields of purified products on scales of up to 300,000 liter  annually. The laboratory facilities have already been set up along with plans to include dedicated collection, testing and storage facilities for plasma as well as other ancillary utilities.

India's first insulin guidelines for management of diabetes
India's first premix insulin guideline was launched by the former president Dr A P J Kalam on the sidelines of 64th annual conference of Association of Physicians of India, APICON-2009 in Greater Noida.
The premix guideline is formulated by 27 experts (Indian National Consensus Group) comprising diabetologists, physicians and endocrinologists across India. There were no specific guidelines in insulin therapy for the Indian diaspora. The western guidelines (the only ones that are in force) rarely get implemented in countries like India and China. Hence, the panel of experts on the Indian National Consensus Group discussed and defined the problem of insulin usage in primary care in India.
Majority of patients in India are dealt and cared by primary care physicians (PCPs), and making insulin therapy more user friendly to PCPs is imperative to contain diabetes in the country. Premix insulin stands out as the most suitable and effective regimen as it addresses the condition in a simple and efficient way (controls both post prandial and fasting plasma glucose). The premix guideline will now arm a primary care physician with a simple algorithm that can be implemented. NovoMix 30 from Novo Nordisk is the leading modern premix insulin in India
“These much-needed guidelines will empower physicians with a simple and doable algorithm for starting and treating with insulin therapy,” said Dr A.K. Das, medical superintendent, JIPMER, Pondicherry and one of the members of the national consensus group.
“The insulin guideline will immensely help in reducing the huge burden of mortality and morbidity caused by uncontrolled hyperglycemia,” commented Dr A K Jhingan, chairman, Delhi Diabetes Research Centers.

Merck India launches Sharp and Active initiative
The consumer health care division of Merck Limited (India), a subsidiary of Merck KGaA of Darmstadt, Germany, has announced the launch of the Sharp and Active initiative.  The initiative aims to spread awareness about iron deficiency and the dangers that lie in ignoring its seemingly innocuous symptoms, which could ultimately result in iron deficiency anaemia.
While commenting on the initiative Dr Marek Dziki, managing director, Merck Limited (India) stated, “The women's health care segment is very nascent in India.  India has a comparably young population with a high proportion of children (364 million). Therefore the health of women and children remains a priority. The Sharp and Active initiative aims to cater to the huge unmet health need of the Indian woman.  We plan to launch this initiative through health care practitioners and the media and reach out to the masses.  The aim is to create opinion leaders or 'multipliers' who will carry forward the message of awareness.”
Speaking at the launch, Shishir Ranjan Mishra, head, consumer health care business, Merck Limited, said, “We are delighted to launch Femibion – Sharp and Active for women for quick replenishment of iron reserves, which will not only enhance their efficiency but also keep them fit and healthy.  With more and more women entering the formal work place, there is a rise in their spending power along with a growing demand for female-specific products.”
A single Femibion – Sharp and Active capsule contains four types of different micro-pellets for essential nutrients like Iron (ferrous fumarate), Folic Acid, Vitamin B12 and Zinc. The multiple unit dosage formulations technology used ensures that, once the capsule is swallowed, the individual drug constituents are uniformly released over a large gut area, thereby minimizing the side effects. It also leads to better absorption of iron in the gut and stability enhancement due to minimal interaction between the components.

Arcadia Biosciences,  Advanta to develop efficient sorghum
Arcadia Biosciences, an agricultural technology company focused on developing technologies and products and Advanta, a multinational seed company, announced the completion of a research and commercial development agreement for the development of nitrogen use efficient (NUE) sorghum. Under terms of the agreement, Advanta receives exclusive global rights to the use of Arcadia's NUE technology in sorghum. Arcadia receives an upfront payment, milestone payments and a share of commercial sales.
Sorghum is an important feed crop that is grown on more than 100 million acres globally. In addition, sweet sorghum is a highly productive potential biofuel source. Like most grain crops, sorghum is extremely dependent upon nitrogen fertilizer to achieve attractive commercial yields.
Also like most grain crops, it is an inefficient user of nitrogen-barely more than half of the nitrogen applied to sorghum fields is utilized for plant growth. As a result, the remainder may run off into area waterways or volatize as nitrous oxide, a potent greenhouse gas. Availability of NUE sorghum varieties can significantly reduce the amount of nitrogen farmers apply to fields, which can increase on-farm productivity and profitability while decreasing the potential environmental impacts from nitrogen fertilizer use. Reduced use of nitrogen fertilizer will also reduce the carbon footprint and increase the net energy of biofuels based on sorghum crops.
“Sorghum does not have as much widespread visibility as other grain crops. Sorghum is an extremely important global crop, and its importance will continue to grow as a function of the increasing interest in biofuels. Development of NUE sorghum varieties can help farmers who produce sorghum for feed or fuel to farm more efficiently, cost-effectively and in a way that's better for our global environment. Advanta is a world leader in sorghum seed development, distribution and sales and are the perfect partner for this program,” said Eric Rey, president and CEO of Arcadia.
“This is an important step forward for us in our effort to bring the latest technologies to the sorghum farmers around the world. By increasing the efficiency of the sorghum plants in their utilization of nitrogen we will be able to enhance the yields, reduce the consumption of nitrogen and eventually reduce the costs for the farmer. We are very excited by this development. Arcadia has a leadership position in the NUE technology and we are very happy to partner with them in this process,” said VR Kaundinya, CEO and managing director of Advanta.

ICRISAT's hybrid pigeonpea takes roots in China
The world's first commercial pigeonpea (red gram) hybrid developed by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), using the cytoplasmic-nuclear male sterility (CMS) technology, is now taking roots in China. Earlier pigeonpea was successfully tested in India.
The first pilot hybrid seed production program is presently being undertaken by a farmers' organization in Yuanmou county in Yunnan province of China. Pigeonpea is mainly grown for soil conservation in about 150,000 hectares on the hilly slopes of Southern China. The hybrids perform better due to their fast canopy development, greater biomass production and strong root system. Pigeonpea hybrids are known not only for their 30-40 percent yield advantage compared to pure line cultivars, they also resist major yield-reducing stresses such as drought, soil borne diseases, water-logging and soil salinity.
According to Dr William Dar, director general of ICRISAT, China's interest in promoting ICRISAT's hybrid pigeonpea is an indication of the benefits that the new hybrid has over the existing pigeonpea varieties. “I am confident that the revolution we started in India with hybrid pigeonpea will soon spread to different parts of the world,” Dr Dar said.
Besides China, the other countries where pigeonpea hybrids technology will be introduced shortly are Myanmar, Brazil, Tanzania, and Malawi.
News Novozymes Biopolymer wins Gold Innovation Award
Novozymes Biopolymer, part of Novozymes, won the Gold Innovation Award at CPhI worldwide conference in Frankfurt, Germany, for its novel form of hyaluronic acid (HA) HyaCare.
Traditionally, HA is derived from rooster combs or from strains of pathogenic Streptococcal bacteria, which allows for a high degree of contamination by animal proteins, viruses and end toxins present in the bacterial genome.  HyaCare is developed under animal-free conditions with no animal derived ingredients used at any stage of the manufacturing process. Novozymes Biopolymer developed this unique non-pathogenic method for producing HA by fermentation of a novel production strain, Bacillus subtilis. The Bacillus strain is a well-characterised, endotoxin free organism that is generally regarded as safe by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“HyaCare is a breakthrough in safety and purity and we are delighted to have won the gold award in recognition of this,” explained Kim Budolph Johansen, global business manager at Novozymes A/S. “HyaCare is the world's first hyaluronic acid that is 100 percent free of animal-derived raw materials and organic solvent remnants and as such has many advantages over existing methods of manufacture.”

Teva, Lonza announce strategic partnership
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd and Lonza Group Ltd have agreed to establish a joint venture to develop, manufacture and market a portfolio of biosimilars. Through this joint venture, Lonza and Teva aim to leverage their complementary capabilities to significantly advance their efforts to secure a leading position in the emerging biosimilars market.
“We had identified biosimilars as a major growth driver for Teva in our long-term strategy and have been augmenting our knowledge base, capabilities and infrastructure to position Teva as a leader in this market”, said Shlomo Yanai, president and CEO, Teva.
“We are excited to enter into this joint venture. The field of biosimilars is a natural extension of Lonza's existing life sciences portfolio, and represents the next strategic step for the company. With Teva we have found the right strategic partner to develop this new activity, which will deliver new opportunities for both companies. We are confident that our capabilities in the area of biologics manufacturing will add value to this joint venture; while at the same time, the agreement ensures that we will be able to continue to fully support the development of new technology and business of our existing innovator customers,” commented Stefan Borgas, CEO, Lonza.
The joint venture is expected to commence activities during the first quarter of 2009, subject to receipt of any applicable regulatory approvals.

Two more USFDA approvals for Strides Arcolab
Strides Arcolab Ltd (Strides) has announced the receipt of two Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) approvals for Sterile Vancomycin HCL USP 500 mg; one g/vial and Sterile Vancomycin HCL USP five g/vial pharmacy bulk packages. The products are licensed to Akorn-Strides, LLC, which is a joint venture of Akorn Inc and Strides Arcolab Ltd that was formed in 2004.
“This is a very significant approval for the Akorn-Strides partnership and represents a tremendous opportunity in terms of its market size and profitability. Product launch is expected to happen in the first half of 2009,” said Ravi Seth, CEO, International Operations, Strides.
Strides also has a collaboration agreement with Aspen Pharmacare involving a range of products, territories and a joint venture (JV) in the oncolytic space in Bangalore. The joint venture has concluded a significant transaction with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to outlicense products for GSK's emerging market strategies in over 95 countries.

Piramal Life Sciences initiates phase-II trials of P276
Piramal Life Sciences Limited (PLSL) has announced that it has started phase-II trial in USA for its lead cancer compound P 276 to treat mantle cell lymphoma (MCL) and it is the second investigational new drug (IND) approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA) for this compound.
MCL is a subtype of non-Hodgkin lymphoma that has 59,000 new cases in the United States each year. Despite the availability of novel agents, MCL remains an incurable disease, with a median survival of three to five years. High-dose chemotherapy followed by transplantation has resulted in improvement in response rates and survival compared with conventional therapy, but relapse is nearly universal and not all patients are candidates for this option of aggressive treatment. Therefore, there is still a need for a targeted, safe and effective therapy.
Dr Swati Piramal, vice chairperson, PLSL said, “ Piramal Life Sciences aims to reduce the burden of disease by finding new and affordable cures for unmet medical needs. It is a proud moment for Indian research and an important milestone because a drug discovered in India, with global patents is now being tested at world- renowned cancer hospitals in the USA.”
Dr Somesh Sharma, managing director, Piramal Life Sciences, stated, “ Piramal Life Sciences is committed to the its values - knowledge, action and care. We nurture breakthrough thinking and follow it up with dynamic, nimble-footed delivery to impact lives of millions of people. The initiation of phase-II clinical trials of P276 in mantle cell lymphoma patients in the US further highlights PLSL's capabilities in developing a compound to address unmet medical needs worldwide.”

TAKE Solutions revenues rise 21 percent
The board of directors of TAKE Solutions Ltd has announced that the company has posted a revenue of Rs 965 million for the quarter ended December 31, 2008 as against Rs 795 million for the same period last year, representing 21 percent year-over-year (YOY)  growth.
The flat YOY profit after tax of the company reached Rs 145 million as against the same amount during the corresponding quarter of FY 2008.  The total exceptional expenses written off during the quarter is Rs 24 million (net of tax). Excluding this cost, the third quarter net profit increased 17 percent YOY to Rs 169 million and earnings per share increased 16 percent YOY to Rs 1.40.   
Commenting on the company's financial performance Srinivasan, vice chairman, TAKE Solutions said, “In the current uncertain economic and business environment, we are happy to continue with our healthy performance. Our focus continues to be on maintaining acceptable level of margin. The strategic planning undertaken by TAKE Solutions in the niche sector we operate has helped us to focus on addressing customers' most critical business issues and as such we hope to continue to emerge even stronger than we are today”.

Dr Vineet Gupta gets Jean H Lubrano award
Dr Vineet Gupta, group medical director, HealthCare Global Enterprises Ltd. (HCG), has been awarded the prestigious Jean H Lubrano Distinguished Scholar Award for 2009 by the Harvard University/Dana Farber Cancer Center, Boston.  He is the first Asian to receive this award and joins an elite list of world's leading Oncologists, who have been Lubrano scholars in the past. Dana Farber Cancer Institute has been consistently voted amongst the top three cancer centers in the US.
Jean Lubrano Distinguished Visiting Scholar Award acknowledges the spirit of helping others and continuing the fight against cancer. The award acknowledges the contribution of Dr Gupta in furthering the cause of science and brings a respected clinician and researcher in women's cancers to Harvard University/Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston in the hope of fostering education and collaboration.
Dr Gupta is widely recognized for his work in breast cancer and hematological diseases including leukemias and lymphomas. In the current position as the group medical director, he provides leadership to align clinical and research expertise of oncology professionals at HCG institutions. An alumnus of University of Delhi, Dr Gupta's initial training was at the famed Wayne State University and Barbara Ann Karmanos Comprehensive Care Center, Detroit. Later he was at the world renowned Moffitt Comprehensive Cancer Center in Tampa, USA.

TCG Lifesciences conferred with excellence award
TCG Lifesciences Ltd has been conferred with 'Excellence Award' and its managing director, Swapan Bhattacharya won the Udyog Rattan award, by the Institute of Economic Studies (IES) for the outstanding achievements in the field of life sciences and contribution in India's industrial development.
The awards were presented by B P Singh, Governor of Sikkim in the presence of Dr Bhishma Narain Singh, former Governor of Tamil Nadu and Dr G V G Krishnamurthy, former election commissioner of India at the award ceremony in New Delhi.
Commenting on his achievement Bhattacharya said “I am honored to receive this prestigious award and I humbly accept it on behalf of the entire TCG Lifesciences family without whose dedicated and relentless team effort this achievement would not have been possible. I would like to thank IES for bestowing this honor.” Bhattacharya, is a B Tech from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, an MS from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, and a M B A. from Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University. He was presented the Lester Cunningham Award for academic excellence at Northwestern.  
The Institute of Economic Studies was established in 1980 by a group of economists, parliamentarians and industrialists. The organization works on studying various aspects of economy and economic development. The institute closely monitors various facets of economy and individual contribution of various companies and business leaders.

Suven's revenue up by 21%
Hyderabad-based Suven Life Sciences, a biopharmaceutical company specializing in Central Nervous System (CNS) diseases, announced its unaudited financial results for the quarter ended December 2008. The revenues for the nine months period stood at Rs 106.42 crore compared to Rs 87.8 crore for the corresponding previous period, registering a growth of 21.1 percent.
Suven's major thrust on innovative R&D in drug discovery continued with a total spending of Rs 25.9  crore for the nine months period.
Suven's clinical candidate SVN-502 targeted for cognition in Alzheimer's and Schizophrenia is undergoing Phase 1 clinical development and the results are expected this month. SUVN-502 has attracted many big pharma from USA, Europe and Japan who would like to partner with Suven for development and commercialization. Suven's other molecules, SUVN-504 (obesity) and SUVN-507 (cognition in Alzheimer and schizophrenia) are in the advanced stage of pre-clinical studies and the same is expected to reach IND stage in fiscal year 2009-10.

OPPI's initiative to improve cold chain facility
The Organisation of Pharmaceutical Producers of India (OPPI) takes initiative to improve the cold chain management at Mumbai and New Delhi airports, where 80-90 percent of the export and import trade of pharmaceuticals take place. OPPI delegation met with the senior officials of GVK in Mumbai and GMR in Delhi, who are the custodians of the respective airports.  
OPPI highlighted some of the bottlenecks at the airports that include authorities not being able to assure cold room space despite getting advance notices from the companies about the possible unloading of large consignments of temperature sensitive products. Some of the other gaps include improper training and refresher courses for some of the handling staff who handle such products at the airport. Storage of Pharmaceutical products along with meat and food products is against the GMP norms.
To bring in learnings in this area, OPPI organized a seminar with support from Mumbai International Airport Ltd (MIAL) on, cold chain management of pharmaceutical products at Sahar Air Cargo Complex, Mumbai, for various stakeholders, including porters and supervisors.

ORG IMS reports IPM monthly sales growth
ORG IMS, one of the leading solution providers to the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries, announced that its integrated pest management (IPM) sales growth has reached 13.1 percent. The value growth for the preceding 12 months combined (from December 2007 – December 2008) is 9.8 percent when compared to corresponding previous 12 months. As per SSA ,the IPM December 2008, minimum alternative tax value stands at Rs 34,118.4 crore.
The reflections showed some significant change among the top 20 companies in month of December 2008 as compare to November 2008. Sanofi Aventis entered among the top 10 with value growth of 22.2 percent. USV entered among the top 20 companies, having gained three ranks as compared to the month of November 2008, it has recorded a growth of 37.3 percent. Pfizer and Dr Reddy's Labs have gained one rank each, currently positioned at rank 12 and rank 15 respectively.
ORG IMS reflections captured some major movers and shakers when it came to products. In the month of December 2008, Becosules has gained nine ranks, having leapt from rank 16 in the month of November 2008 to rank seven in the month of December 2008. The other products that have shown a significant gain in ranks are Seroflo (rank 16) and Zinetac (rank 17), having gained four and five ranks respectively. Zinetac has thus entered among the top 20 products for the month.

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