reach out to their older peers. Funds play an important part. “Even the biggest balance sheet in the Indian pharmaceutical industry today cannot support a robust NCE programme,” Murali Nair, partner, EY, observes. He adds that globally too, the ratio of the success of developing a marketable drug from a promising molecule is very low. “Indian companies are developing only a handful of molecules,” he points out.
Glenmark gets a steady flow of milestone-based payments from various out-licensing agreements it has signed with drug majors. JP Morgan analysts peg the revenues at about $232 million till date.
Glen Saldanha, CMD, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, says his firm has moved up the innovation and drug discovery value chain. “For NCEs, we are looking at out-licensing at the phase 2 stage while for NBEs, we are looking at out-licensing opportunities in the pre-clinical phase itself,” Saldanha told FE. He added that the firm has three R&D facilities, in India, the United Kingdom and Switzerland, employing over 500 scientists dedicated primarily to drug discovery and not just generics research.
“Indian companies can manage development by themselves up to Phase – I or sometimes Phase – II of clinical trials. After that point, you need to conduct global studies, for which a partner is essential,” said Alok Dalal, pharma sector analyst with Motilal Oswal Financial Services.