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Indian Reliance Life Sciences to launch four more biosimilars by next year Posted 30/07/2009

Reliance Life Sciences, based in Mumbai, India, announced on 29 March 2009 in the Indian Business Standard that it will launch four biosimilars by next year.

The Indian company has already launched three biosimilars last year: ReliFeron (interferon alfa), ReliPoietin (erythropoietin) and ReliGrast (granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF)). Clinical studies are on for these drugs, which belong to the oncology and cardiology segment.

“We are working on biosimilar products that most competitors are not following,” said KV Subramaniam, President of Reliance Life Sciences. At present, final stage limited Phase III human clinical trials are on in Europe for G-CSF, which is used to stimulate production of white blood cells and as an adjunct treatment with chemotherapy for cancer patients.

A second G-CSF product is also under development and will reach markets by 2010. Both of these products were obtained by Reliance Life Sciences through the acquisition of the UK-based drug discovery company, GeneMedix, in 2007.

The company earlier launched in-house developed plasma proteins such as ReliSeal (fibrin sealants), AlbuRel (albumin), ImmunoRel (immunoglobulin), HemoRel (anti-hemophilic factor) and ReliPlasma (virus inactivated plasma). Plasma proteins, which are part of blood, perform a variety of roles, including clotting blood, fighting diseases. Furthermore, it recently launched a small molecule or a pharmaceutical product to treat head cancer, said Subramaniam.

Off-patent biotech drugs are an emerging business opportunity worldwide. Europe and the US are estimated to have a market size of above US$16 billion (Euros 11.3 billion) by 2012 for biosimilars. Indian companies Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, Wockhardt, Intas Biopharmaceuticals and Biocon are working on several biosimilar drugs.

Reliance Life Sciences currently exports its biosimilar products to South Asia, South East Asia and Latin American countries. Going forward, the company will sell its products in the US and Europe once a regulatory mechanism evolves for the sale of biosimilars, according to Subramaniam.

Source: BIO SmartBrief, Business Standard (India), 29 March 2009

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