After nearly eight years of work on a molecule it identified (along with its Cuban partner CIMAB), Indian biotech company Biocon has launched its drug, Alzumab, for psoriasis, an auto-immune disorder affecting 10 to 20 million people in India. The plan is to offer Alzumab at half the price of what MNCs charge. Biocon did the same thing to drug pricing in 2006 with its first biologic, head and neck cancer drug BIOMAb EGFR.
It’s a breakthrough that Biocon is excited about. It’s the world’s first anti-CD6 biologic that has a different mechanism: Instead of suppressing immunity, which existing biologics do, Alzumab reboots the body’s immunity system.
The only branded formulation company in India to derive more than 50 percent of its revenue from biologics, Biocon shows that higher spend on R&D (nearly 10 percent of its revenue) pays off. The global market for psoriasis is estimated to exceed $8 billion by 2016. But for Chairman and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, it’s much bigger than that. The drug is likely to be effective for problems like multiple sclerosis and rheumatoid arthritis too.
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(This story appears in the 06 September, 2013 issue of Forbes India. To visit our Archives, click here.)