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Last Updated : Sep 12, 2019 06:05 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Lupin exploring in-licensing deals to expand neuro-psychiatry, oncology segments

The company is exploring new product offerings for treating multiple sclerosis, migraine, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's diseases.

Viswanath Pilla @viswanath_pilla
 
 
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Drugmaker Lupin is scouting for in-licensing deals to launch new products in neuro-psychiatry and oncology segments to give a boost to its domestic formulation market.

The company is exploring new product offerings for treating multiple sclerosis, migraine, Parkinson's, and Alzheimer's diseases.

"We are evaluating some products (for in-licensing)," said Atish Majumdar, Vice President of Sales and Marketing in an interview to Moneycontrol, referring to neuropsychiatry division.

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"If you look at the neuro psychiatry market, it is growing at about 8 percent. But, we believe the market will grow faster with rising mental health issues," Majumdar said.

Lupin calls its neuro-psychiatry division as Mindvision, under which it currently markets drugs for anti-seizure, anti-depressants and pain therapies.

Under an in-licensing deal, a company gets a license to market a product of another company for specific geography by sharing profits or paying a royalty.  In-licensing has been a popular route for Indian companies to launch innovative products in the market. Most of these products are not covered by price controls.

Oncology is another segment Lupin is trying to expand significantly. For biosimilar monoclonal antibodies, the company had licensing agreements with Reliance Life Sciences, Intas and Hetero for biosimilars Bevacizumab, Trastuzumab and Rituximab, all treating different types of cancers.

The company also has launched Genexol-PM (paclitaxel nanoparticle) for cancer treatment tieing-up with the South Korean company Samyang Corporation.

Majumdar said in oncology too they are looking at in-licensing drugs.

"In targeted therapies, we are there, but the next major growth will be coming from immunotherapy and gene-sequencing, those are all proprietary products (protected by patents), this will have to come through in-licensing," Majumdar said.

Lupin is the fifth-largest company in the Indian pharmaceutical market, with sales of Rs 4638.2 crore in FY19 with a growth rate of 12.4 percent, higher than the market growth rate of close to 10 percent.

Indian sales constitute about 29 percent of Lupin's sales.

Acute to Chronic

According to Lupin's annual report, the chronic segment now constitutes about 60 percent of the domestic revenues and the acute segment contributes 40 percent.

Cardiology and Diabetes put together constitute about 42.5 percent of Indian formulation revenues for Lupin.

Majumdar said Lupin had covered all classes of products in both cardiology and diabetes, and the pipeline is largely dry.

While diabetes and cardiac segments are growing at healthy double digits, Majumdar said the focus on neuro-psychiatry and oncology are expected to open up new avenues of growth for the company.

Majumdar played a key role in driving Lupin’s foray into cardiology.

Lupin which is pre-dominantly into anti-infective drugs, more specifically anti-tuberculosis medications, began diversification into the chronic segment in the late 90s starting with cardiology and then followed by diabetes.

A patient suffering from chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, depression, will have to pop-up pills throughout his life, whereas in infectious diseases, patient will take drugs for a few days.

With the Indian economy growing and people's diet and physical lifestyles undergoing rapid changes, non-communicable diseases have exploded with the turn of the century.

This fundamental shift in disease burden from communicable to non-communicable had forced companies like Lupin who have started out selling infectious diseases to realign their businesses focusing on chronic therapies.

But Majumdar said, unlike acute segment, chronic segment needed deeper engagement with doctors to generate prescriptions.

One of the initiatives Majumdar helped create was knowledge platforms at Lupin in association with leading medical institutions and associations of the world. The platform brings medical experts from leading hospitals and medical schools to visit India periodically to share their experiences with doctors here.

Majumdar said Lupin is also leveraging technology and adopting innovation to engage with its key stakeholders like doctors and patients. In a first of its kind initiative, Lupin launched an artificial intelligence-powered, patient-friendly chatbot named Anya.

Anya is designed to act as a preferred partner for doctors in resolving patients’ queries and creating disease awareness.

Lupin now spends about 10-15 percent of its promotional budgets on digital.

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First Published on Sep 12, 2019 06:05 pm
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