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Wednesday, Mar 30, 2005

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Glenmark seeks partner in Japan, Europe for asthma drug

P.T. Jyothi Datta

Mumbai , March 29

GLENMARK Pharmaceuticals Ltd is scouting for a partner in Japan and Europe to commercialise its asthma drug candidate, GRC 3886, in these markets.

This comes even as Glenmark's prospective diabetes molecule, GRC 8200, looks set to enter Phase I trials this June, most likely in the UK.

"Our (existing) deal with Forest Laboratories for the development of this drug (for asthma) was for North America, which is about 50 per cent of the global asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD) market. We are looking for partners in Japan and Europe, which constitute another 35 per cent of the world's asthma and COPD market," Mr Glenn Saldanha, Managing Director and CEO, told Business Line.

The deal is expected to be firmed up in about 12 months.

Last year, Glenmark had landed a $190-million deal with Forest Laboratories for the development and commercialisation of the product for the North American market.

The joint development of the prospective asthma drug with Forest is proceeding on schedule, said Mr Saldanha.

Depending on the regulatory requirements in the Japanese and European markets, some stages of Phase I clinical trials may also have to be conducted in these markets, a company official said.

Phase I trials involve tests on 50-100 healthy human volunteers to evaluate the safety profile and safe dosage range.

The timeframe for product development to be completed, as per the Forest deal, is 2009.

Glenmark retains commercialisation rights for the rest of the world as this deal covers only the $10-million North American market for COPD and asthma.

The company would also earn `mid-teens' royalty from Forest on net sales after the commercial launch and would supply active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) for sale by Forest, Glenmark had said when it announced the deal.

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