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Ajanta in licensing talks with 7 foreign drug cos

Aparna Krishnan

MUMBAI, June 14

AJANTA Pharma Ltd is in talks with seven overseas pharma companies to license its novel drug delivery system- (NDDS) based nimeluside called Nimeludine.

Mr Arvind Agrawal, Chief Financial Officer, Ajanta Pharma Ltd, told Business Line that the drug, which is used for pain management, has completed Phase II clinical trials and Phase III in India and has got DCGI (Drug Controller General of India) approval.

"We are looking for an alliance with an overseas company that would be able to take the drug into further development, mainly Phase III clinical trials. We are aiming to patent the NDDS-based drug in the regulated markets, and hence, the effort,'' he said.

The licensing deal is expected to be completed by the end of this year, Mr Agrawal said.

Ajanta Pharma has three more NDDS products in the pain management segment in its research pipeline. Says Mr Purushottam Agrawal, Managing Director, Ajanta Pharma Ltd: "These drugs are in the Phase I clinical trials and will now have go through toxicity tests among others to enter Phase II.''

The company expects these three drugs to complete Phase II trials in one to one-and-a-half years' time, at which point, the company will be looking to license them as well for further development.

"For every product, we will have to invest at least about $1.5-2 million in order to register and conduct Phase III trials and further drug development in each country,'' said Mr Arvind Agrawal. The company expects the alliance partner to not only bring in the required investments but also an established marketing network to sell the drug worldwide. However, Mr Arvind Agrawal said that the company was not likely to share the patent.

The company has increased its research and development investments over the years. "In the current year, we would be investing over Rs 5 crore in R&D,'' Mr Arvind Agrawal said.

Ajanta has 16 patents filed in 109 countries, including India. Out of the 16, nine are herbal-based drugs.

Ajanta is also taking the fast track to establish its own network in other countries. "We will complete registering in 40 countries by the end of this year. We are trying to establish some infrastructure and a marketing network in unregulated and semi regulated markets. This will include South Asia Pacific, Africa and Latin American countries,'' Mr Arvind Agrawal said.

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