Dapnat launch to boost Natco’s presence in India’s diabetes market but concerted efforts required, says GlobalData

India-based Natco Pharma has recently launched a generic version of AstraZeneca’s patented anti-diabetes drug Forxiga (dapagliflozin). Natco’s sodium glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor, Dapnat, is indicated for the treatment of type 2 diabetes (T2D), and is expected to boost the company’s overall presence within the Indian diabetes market, says GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

Natco is a new player within the cardiovascular and diabetes therapeutic space, launching its Cardiology and Diabetic (CnD) division in early 2017. As per the information available through Natco, the company has a sales force of 350 plus representatives with a focus in oncology and hepatitis C. The CnD division makes up 1% of the overall domestic formulation business and generated sales of approximately US$1m in FY’2019.

Earlier this month, Natco launched Dapnat at a 65%–70% discount compared to Forxiga. GlobalData research has revealed that Natco is the first company worldwide, and India is the first country, to launch a generic version of AstraZeneca’s SGLT2 inhibitor.

Prashant Khadayate, Pharma Analyst at GlobalData, commented: “This is not the first time that Natco has launched a generic of a patented drug. For example, Natco launched Pharmacyclics (acquired by AbbVie) patented ibrutinib, an anti-cancer drug in December 2019. However, it is likely that AstraZeneca will file an injunction case against Natco.”

Dapnat will benefit from the fact that it’s the first generic SGLT2 inhibitor to reach the Indian T2D market. Other SGLT2 inhibitors already on the Indian market are Janssen’s Invokana (canagliflozin), Boehringer Ingelheim /Eli Lilly’s Jardiance (empagliflozin), and Glenmark’s Remozen (remogliflozin).

Even though the Indian diabetes drug market is highly crowded, there is still a huge opportunity for new entrants like Natco’s Dapnat due to the need for more treatments that help manage T2D, and thereby reduce the costly burden of diabetic complications, along with the need for more affordable T2D drugs in general. The significant size of the Indian T2D market is also a huge driver. According to GlobalData’s Pharmaceutical Intelligence Center, the number of diagnosed prevalent cases of T2D in India is around 72.6 million in 2020, and it is expected to grow at an annual growth rate of 4.0%.

Khadayate adds: “The cost of Dapnat will certainly prove advantageous for Natco in penetrating the Indian diabetes market. However, Natco has a limited presence compared to the combined entity of AstraZeneca, Sun Pharma and Abbott India Ltd. AstraZeneca sells dapagliflozin in partnership with Sun Pharma and Abbott India Ltd through their brands Oxra and Gledepa, respectively. Considering the strength of competitors, Natco will require a concerted effort in building brand equity, and expanding their sales force and distribution channel in order to maximize SGLT2 inhibitor market share and capture the broader market opportunity within the Indian diabetes market.”

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