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Shasun plans new R&D unit

Our Bureau

CHENNAI, July 22

SHASUN Chemicals and Drugs Ltd is investing Rs 40 crore in the next three years to set up new research and development facility close to Chennai.

According to Mr S. Abhaya Kumar, Joint Managing Director of Shasun, the company is in the process of acquiring land for setting up the new R&D facility. This will supplement the existing R&D facility of the company.

Mr Kumar said that the company's focus in the coming three years would be on the development of active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) and R&D. It also has plans to become a one-stop shop in the pharma service sector, which would mean that MNC pharma companies can contract Shasun to carry out clinical trials, drug development and supply of key ingredients.

In the area of new drug discoveries, Shasun wants to start out with contracts to develop full-time equivalents.

"We are trying to learn the game to ensure that we have the right people and right kind of chemistry. By 2010, we hope to make a new drug discovery."

For now, the company wants to complement the efforts of the MNC pharma companies rather than compete with them, he added.

Formulations developed by US companies using a couple of Shasun's key intermediates are expected to hit the US market between 2003-2005, according to Mr Kumar. If this happens, then Shasun has the opportunity to become preferred supplier for these companies for a reasonably long time.

Shasun, according to him, is also working on developing a recombinant protein through the biotechnology route. For this project, the company is collaborating with an Indian university and the product is expected to be launched within the next two years.

He said that no decision has as yet been taken on the proposed hive-off of the company's production facility at Pondicherry.

Mr S. Vimal Kumar, Finance Director, said that the company managed to increase its net profit to Rs 2.33 crore during the first quarter of this fiscal from Rs 33 lakh registered in the same period the previous year, due to a combination of factors.

The first factor was the increased production of ibuprofen from the increase in production capacity that was carried out during the last fiscal, he said. The company also registered higher sales of nizatidine during this quarter.

However, the major impact, according to Mr Kumar, has been from the increase in sales of ibuprofen derivates.

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