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Aug 15, 2009, 04.07 PM IST | Source: CNBC-TV18

Hyderabad pharma cos cash in on Swine-Flu fever

With Swine-Flu fear (H1NI) spreading like wild fire, a few Hyderabad-based pharma and biotech companies are gearing up to tap the billion dollar opportunity, reports CNBC-TV18's Vishwanath Pilla and Sandeep Shrikanth.

Hyderabad pharma cos cash in on Swine-Flu fever

With Swine-Flu fear (H1NI) spreading like wild fire, a few Hyderabad-based pharma and biotech companies are gearing up to tap the billion dollar opportunity, reports CNBC-TV18's Vishwanath Pilla and Sandeep Shrikanth.

Bharat biotech is one among the three Indian companies to start work on developing an indigenous H1N1 vaccine. The company says it has already invested seven crore rupees to develop a vaccine. It also plans to invest 70 crore rupees to ramp up capacity from 10 million to 100 million doses with regulatory authorities easing norms on time consuming clinical trials. The company is confident of its vaccine hitting the market before the end of the year.

Krishna M EllaM, CMD, Bharat Biotech said "We are expecting this sort of disease is going to bound to keep coming. One season it might be less - another season it might increase, if not H1N1 it may be another H1N1. The new type will come. We are predicting that and we are creating new capacities."

Currently, the only available option to fight the virus is osel-tamivir or tamiflu tablets. Enter Hyderabad-based hetero drugs. The company which bagged the manufacturing license for tamiflu from roche way back in 2005 has already supplied 9 million tablets to the Indian government and exported 80 million tablets to over 60 countries. The company is tightlipped on revenues from tamiflu, but with a single tablet costing Rs 39, the hetero's tamiflu bounty might be anywhere between Rs 300 - 350 crore.

M Srinivas Reddy, Marketing Director, Hetero Drugs said, "As a company, we realized that globally if Swine Flu turns into a disaster- millions of the people would require the product. We have increased our manufacturing capacity in one month by 10 million packs" With the government looking to ramp up procurement and allow retail sale of the drug, the race to manufacture generic tamiflu is only going to get hotter.

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