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Eli Lilly in pact with Sun Pharma

New Delhi, Oct. 18: Eli Lilly and Company (India) has entered into an alliance with Sun Pharmaceuticals to outsource its cardiovascular drug for both the domestic and global markets.

“Under the alliance, Sun Pharma would start manufacturing the cardiovascular drug from Lilly’s stable for the export and domestic markets in the next six months,” Eli Lilly India chairman and managing director Rajiv Gulati said.

He said Sun was already manufacturing Lilly’s anti-diabetic products including animal and human insulin. The global parent of the company also has an alliance with the Chennai-based Austin Shasun for manufacturing anaesthesia, anti-TB and peptic ulcer drug.

He said while the manufacture of the anaesthesia drug had already started, the production of the anti-TB drug was expected by the end of next year.

When asked about the launch of the company’s popular drug for erectile dysfunction, ‘Cialis’, he said it would hit the Indian market only by end of 2004. He said the company had secured government approval to conduct trials on a small scale prior to Phase-III, which would begin next month. The Phase-III trials would happen only after the launch of Cialis in Europe, expected in the first half of next year.

Talking to reporters on the sidelines of the India launch of its Xigris drug to combat sepsis or what is known as blood poisoning in the common parlance, Gulati said, “We have already received approval for a small trial for Cialis in two centres in Mumbai and Bangalore. This trial is slightly prior to Phase III trials which will start after the European launch.”

Unlike Viagra, which is effective for only two to four hours after the intake of the drug, Cialis is effective for more than 24 hours and offers more time flexibility to the consumer, the company claims.

Other drugs in the pipeline in India are cancer drugs Alimta and Affinitac.

Xigris, which won its first approval in the US in November last year, was launched in Europe only yesterday. The drug will cost over Rs 5 lakh which includes 57 per cent duty. The slow infusion intravenous treatment requires about 8-12 vials over a period of 24 hours.

Owing to the steep pricing, the company expects only about 100 patients to avail of the drug in the first year. The company ascribed the high cost to the 20 years of research which the company has done to make what it calls “the only drug available in the world to combat severe sepsis”.

Eli Lilly, which posted a Rs 1.5 crore net profit on a turnover of Rs 109 crore last year, is projecting a 4.5-5 crore net profit on a turnover of 122 crore this year, said Gulati.

The company expects sales of the Xigris to touch about Rs 5-6 crore in the first year.

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