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Ranbaxy picks speciality pill as growth tonic

Mumbai, Jan. 22: After tasting success in generics, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd has turned its focus towards speciality products. These efforts combined with its innovative research potential is set to increase the pharma majorís contribution from US operations to over 50 per cent over the next three to four years.

Painting this rosy picture at an analyst meet held here yesterday, D.S. Brar, CEO and managing director of Ranbaxy Laboratories, said in view of its focus on the developed markets, particularly the US, the company is planning to acquire a marketing company.

He disclosed that Ranbaxy is slowly moving up the value chain from generics to speciality pharma and innovative research. Given such a strategic direction, the medium-term goals of the company is to sustain growth momentum in the US, attain critical mass in Europe and Latin America and fortify the domestic business.

Contribution from its US operations are slated to increase to 50 per cent in the next three to four years from 38 per cent in 2002. Of this, the companyís specialty products are expected to contribute 20 per cent to its turnover in the next four years. Its R&D products are expected to contribute around nine to 10 per cent of its revenues in the next six years.

The company has till date, filed 24 Paragraph Four Abbreviated New Drug Applications (ANDAs), of which nine have the potential for first to file status, while the cumulative ANDAs till date are at 95.

On research, where the company plans to invest close to $ 60 million in the current fiscal, officials said clinical development study could be conducted either in the US or in Europe.

In new drug discovery, Ranbaxy will focus on urology, anti-infective and pulmonary segments. Brar said its Rbx 7796 product, to treat bronchial asthma (oral), has entered phase-I clinical study, while Rbx 7644, an anti-bacterial product, has also entered phase-I clinical study, which will be carried out in the UK.

The company plans to introduce these products in the market as early as possible for the first mover advantage. It also has filed two New Drug Applications (NDA) in the US for Metformin and Oflaxin, he added.

The global generic business of the company was placed at $ 40 billion in 2001 and is expected to rise to $ 95 billion by 2005. The US operations have accounted for 44 per cent of its turnover in 2002, which is expected to rise to 47 per cent by 2004 and 49 per cent by 2005. The contribution from the European operations is expected to remain steady at 23 per cent.

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