Indian biotech major Biocon announced on Saturday that it had launched its first biologic drug for psoriasis, which affects about 10-20 million Indians. The drug against the disease, which attacks the immune system, will be about half the price of similar drugs offered by multi-nationals in the country, said Chairman and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.
ALZUMAb, which took the company 10 years to develop, is available in India at Rs.7,950 a vial. She claimed the drug was the world’s first 'novel' anti-CD6 antibody to treat psoriasis. Ms. Shaw said the cheaper biologic would enable poorer patients to access a cure for psoriasis. 'Currently, the Indian market for biologics is very small, but the availability of a cheaper option would expand the size of the market,' she said.
The company was in talks with foreign companies for 'partnerships' to reach out to global markets. 'The value of the global market for biologics to address psoriasis is valued at more than $30 billion,' she said. 'We will start trials in these markets soon,' she said.
Ms. Shaw said the success of the company, which she attributed to a large R&D budget, encouraged it to seek remedies for other autoimmune diseases such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Sjogren’s disease. Biocon earned revenues of over Rs.2,500 crore in 2012-13. It spent 10 per cent of overall revenues on R&D, Ms. Shaw said.