Paving the way forward

Paving the way forward

The formulations business is a constant in the pharma industry, but as blockbuster drugs run out and patents expire, companies need a quick fix to stabilise top lines. That is perhaps what has created hubbub around the biotech industry internationally, with giants like GSK and Novartis chasing acquisitions, research and manufacturing of biotech products. The Indian pharma industry was not going to be left behind, and at least in word, we have jumped onto the biogeneric bandwagon.

The term biogenerics (also called biosimilars) has been used loosely in the industry. In the Indian context, however, biogenerics typically involve vaccines and similar products as well as a few human growth hormones, and not only are numerous organisations mushrooming to develop these products, in the recent past we have seen majors such as Biocon realigning their strategies to include and service the biogeneric markets around the world.

This fortnight promises to be big for the biotech sector, as the industry stalwarts will meet at BioAsia 2006. For the occasion we have put together a special to provide a context to the Indian biotech sector and bring forth aspects, such as HR and IT that will govern its future.

One of the major biotech researches being pursued currently, that holds the potential to revolutionise the existing pharma business models, is pharmacogenomics. While little success has occurred in the field many pharmacos are laying a bet on the research that may result in people specific medication. Katya Naidu, formerly our sub-editor, has recently made a successful transition to reporting, and she explores the reason pharmacogenomics is synonymous with big bucks.

Road to clinical research

The opening up of the pharma biotech activity, aided by the patent regime has brought with it multiple, multi-dimensional opportunities for the CRO industry. As modifications to generic drugs becomes the flavour of the season, both Indian and foreign companies need to conduct clinical trials and manage trial data at minimal cost without compromising on quality. The Indian CRO community is one among the few that can offer these services.

Nevertheless, despite the advantage of having mastery over the English language and technology, India will have to keep a close watch on the immediate competitor: China.

Business matters

Research, clinical trials, and the likes spell expenditure for pharma companies, but at the end of the day these are business houses and their key function is to generate market value. For that management needs easy tools to calculate whether or not they meet investor expectations. One such tool is Economic Value Added (EVA), a measure of market risk and related expectation, meant for managers to ensure smart allocation of company resources for better economic returns. Relevant particularly to the Indian pharma industry, we have broken down EVA for you in this issue. Do go through it and if you are travelling to BioAsia 2006, hope you see you there!

Sandeep Ajgaonkar