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KAPL to focus on lifestyle drugs

Madhumathi D.S.

BANGALORE, Oct. 24

KARNATAKA Antibiotics & Pharmaceuticals Ltd has slowly begun to move towards the lifestyle segment of cardiovascular (CV), stress and diabetes management therapies.

With an eye on Rs 100-crore turnover by 2003-04, the company is planning Rs 20-crore investment to modernise its manufacturing facilities.

In the short term, the Central public sector pharma company would come out with a slew of products in the CV, pain management, CNS (central nervous system) categories, besides launching its first anti-diabetic drug, the KAPL Managing Director, Mr M.V. Pathak, told Business Line.

The current portfolio has 12 non-antibiotics and over 30 antibiotics. None of the dozen odd new launches planned in the next three years would be an antibiotic that KAPL has traditionally been manufacturing.

In fact, both the releases this year are in that trend - Rofox MM launched in April is a non-steroidal anti-rheumatic while Taspin, just launched on October 21, is an anti-coagulant in the CV segment.

Taspin is expected to generate sales of Rs 1 crore in the first year and become Rs 5-crore brand in the next three years.

"We are shifting from our traditional focus (on antibiotics) towards products like cardiovasculars and anti-diabetics to maintain growth and profitability. The (upcoming) range may gradually equal our traditional products portfolio," Mr Pathak said. Also, with R&D-strong MNCs introducing high-end new molecules, KAPL would not have much strength there any more. The present non-core range accounts for around 30 per cent of the revenue of Rs 76.7 crore (2001-02).

This proportion is targeted to grow to 50 per cent during the 2003-04 fiscal. Grenil, the migraine fighter that was introduced in May 1999, is now a successful brand worth Rs 3 crore.

"We aim to make it a Rs 5-crore brand next year," Mr Pathak said.

With manufacturing as its mainstay, KAPL plans to pump in Rs 20 crore over the next three or four years to upgrade its facilities.

This would be to meet the domestic standards that are being raised, the needs of international clients and also to get registrations in the export markets of the UK, Europe and South Africa.

Post-2005, when new drug discoveries and product patents come to rule the roost, "We will focus on off-patent products, contract manufacturing tie-ups with several big companies; and exports," Mr Pathak said.

Currently, KAPL has contract manufacturing tie-ups worth Rs 10 crore with five domestic companies.

The only profit making pharma PSU ended 2001-02 with a profit after tax of Rs 2.92 crore.

Exports, at Rs 8.65 crore during 2001-02, have already shown a very good growth in the first half-year ended September 30, closing 71 per cent higher at Rs 6.9 crore.

H1 sales for 2002 stood at Rs 42.35 crore, up 11 per cent.

According to Mr Pathak, the company is tapping new markets in Tanzania, Kenya and Malawi and is the sole registered supplier of beta lactum to UNICEF, Denmark.

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