Concerted efforts required by both Indian pharma industry and government to boost innovation in India, says GlobalData

The Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) has recently urged the government to set up a fund to boost technological innovation in the bio/pharma space. This push to promote innovation by creating a research ecosystem is important because the Indian pharmaceutical industry is set to grow from nearly US$31bn in 2018 to more than US$38.0bn by 2022, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Dr. Peter Shapiro, Senior Director of Drugs and Business Fundamentals at GlobalData, says: “Looking at the current scenario within the Indian pharma industry, an increase of funding alone cannot be considered enough to create innovation.

“The creation of an ecosystem will involve the nurturing of talent and a marketplace of innovative university technology transfer projects, to shift the market from one that specializes in small molecule generics to one that specializes in innovative drugs many of which are complex biologics.”

According the GlobalData Pharma Intelligence Center Company Database, Indian companies have dominated the generic market, with a majority of the top 20 generic companies by revenue being headquartered in India.

Dr. Shapiro adds: “Lipaglyn was the first innovative drug launched by an Indian company, Zydus Cadila, in 2014. Lipaglyn is marketed in India and Mexico; however other novel products approved in India have failed to be approved abroad.

“Indian companies’ lower spend on research and development (R&D) have prevented them from making an impact in the innovative drug market. Nevertheless, some Indian companies are focussing on drug discovery.”

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Similar to developed markets, the most popular therapy area is oncology. An example of this is Aurigene, a subsidiary of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories, which entered into an exclusive collaboration with the US-based Exelixis to develop novel therapies for cancer.

The majority of Indian innovative drugs collaboration is most likely to be with companies and institutes in the US not with other domestic collaborators.

The Indian pipeline is also focused on ‘infectious disease’. A third of the pipeline products in development by Indian companies are in the ‘infectious disease’ space compared to the pipeline in developed countries (US, Europe and Japan), where only a sixth of products are being developed for ‘infectious disease’.

This includes two chemically related antibiotics in pre-registration in the US, alalevonadifloxacin and levonadifloxacin, being developed by Wockhart Ltd.

Dr. Shapiro concludes: “It is good to have non-dilutive funding to bridge the gap in the drug discovery process. However, innovation growth will also depend on various factors such as industry-academic collaborations, availability of highly skilled talent, innovative science, and additional incentives provided by the government through policy reform. Hence, it is equally important to create an ecosystem where all the above factors are given equal importance to foster innovation.”

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