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July 24, 2001
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Dr Reddy's scripts plan for biogenerics thrust

BS Bureau

Dr Reddy's Laboratories on Monday unveiled plans of building a biogeneric products portfolio in four key therapeutic segments -- cancer, immunology, cardiovascular and diabetes -- over the next few years, with an eye on regulated markets.

Having launched its first product, hG - CSF (human granulocyte colony stimulating factor), earlier this month, the company's biotech division will roll out its second product before the end of the current fiscal.

A third product is awaiting clearance from the Drug Controller General of India to start limited clinical trials. The biotech pipeline of Dr Reddy's "has about 10 recombinant products at different stages of development".

Disclosing this, Jayaram Chigurupati, executive vice-president (emerging business), said: "Though we had taken the biotech initiative in 1998, we had kept it under wraps. Now, we are ready to roll it out because we have the confidence of achieving something."

Jayaram said the company has so far invested Rs 100 million in the biotech field and plans to set up a new production facility with US Food and Drugs Administration specifications (the cost is likely to be about Rs 150 million) in the outskirts of Hyderabad. He claims the company has core competencies in recombinant proteins with a core team of 35 working with it.

"Marketing our biotech products in India is only a warm up act. The real stakes are in the developed and regulated markets," Jayaram said.

According to him, the market for recombinant products for biogenerics is estimated at $14 billion and is expected to reach $25 billion by 2005.

"We will strengthen our core competencies to develop and market bio-generics in regulated markets," Jayaram said, adding that the company has "competencies starting from molecular biology, fermentation, protein purification to cell culture in multiple expression systems like E-coli, yeast and mammalian cells".

Jayaram said the company's separate wholly owned subsidiary, Zenovus Biotech, will be dedicated for developing a technology platform of monoclonal antibodies over the next few years.

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