Chairperson & MD, Biocon
Mumbai, Aug. 10: Bangalore-based Biocon today announced the launch of a biologic researched, developed and manufactured in the country to treat chronic plaque psoriasis.
A biologic is a drug composed of sugar, proteins and living entities such as cells and tissues.
Unlike other drugs that are made chemically, biologics are made from natural resources that include human, animal, and microorganisms.
The drug — Alzumab — will be 50 per cent cheaper than similar drugs in the market.
Sources from Biocon told The Telegraph that a vial would cost around Rs 7,950.
“This new line of treatment will usher in a paradigm shift in the management of psoriasis. We are proud that this will be the first instance of a breakthrough innovation from India with a potential to treat multiple auto-immune diseases and will make a difference to a much larger patient population across the world,” said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairperson and managing director of Biocon.
According to Biocon, Alzumab offers superior safety and is as effective as other existing therapies. Besides having no side effects, an advantage of the drug is that the disease does not recur for a long period.
Longer remission periods and lower infection rates will lead to better patient compliance and overall reduction in the cost burden, said Rakesh Bamzai, president-marketing, Biocon.
Psoriasis is a socially debilitating disease, affecting 2-3 per cent of the global population. The global market for the psoriasis drug is estimated to cross $8 billion by 2016.
Biocon also plans to take the drug to the international market and is looking for a global partner.
“We will be addressing the global opportunity through partnering the molecule (the infusion drug) globally,” Shaw said, adding the company was engaged in discussions with a large number of companies and it was a matter of time before Biocon inked a partnership deal to take the drug worldwide.
Shaw also said Biocon would soon file for an investigational new drug (IND) application with the US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for Alzumab.
“We have had discussions with regulators... US FDA... and they are also very excited about the promise of this drug and we are planning to file an IND very soon (within the current fiscal),” Mazumdar-Shaw said.
A company official said the drug had also shown evidence of treating other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Biocon worked on the drug for a decade and had won approval from the Drug Controller General of India earlier this year.
Alzumab will be manufactured at the company’s manufacturing facility at Biocon Park in Bangalore.
The biotechnology major had reported an 18.65 per cent rise in consolidated net profit at Rs 93.50 crore for the first quarter ended June 30, 2013 compared with Rs 78.80 crore in the same quarter last fiscal.
The consolidated total income also rose to Rs 700.69 crore for the April-June quarter against Rs 576.68 crore in the year-ago period.