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Biocon buys Pfizer\'s R&D facility to boost biosimilars development
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Indian biotechnology firm Biocon Ltd on Tuesday said it has acquired a Chennai-based research and development (R&D) facility from Pfizer Healthcare India Ltd through its subsidiary Biocon Biologics.

Christiane Hamacher, chief executive officer at Biocon Biologics, said in a stock market disclosure that the acquisition will help Biocon accelerate its development of biosimilars from lab to pilot scale. It did not reveal financial details.

The acquired R&D facility, spread across 60,000 square feet, is expected to be operational in a few months. The facility will house an early-stage research and innovation centre with over 250 scientists.

Biocon Biologics currently has an R&D centre in Bengaluru, and has a product pipeline of 28 molecules including 11 with Mylan, a few with Sandoz and rest on its own.

Biocon, which was listed on the stock exchanges in 2004, has been incubating businesses within its fold. It divested its enzymes business in 2007 and subsequently listed its research services business Syngene in 2015.

In its annual report 2019, Biocon said it is consolidating the development, manufacturing and commercialization operations of its biosimilars business under Biocon Biologics with its own dedicated management. Hamacher was appointed as CEO of Biocon Biologics earlier this year.

Singapore state investor Temasek, private equity firm True North, and Canada Pension Plan Investment Board (CPPIB) were reportedly in separate discussions with Biocon Biologics India to acquire a minority stake for close to $300 million.

The Indian pharmaceuticals sector has largely been dominated by manufacturing of generic drugs for decades and is emerging as an important player in the biosimilars market. Unlike generic drugs, biosimilars are more difficult to make and cannot be replicated.

In 2017, drugmaker Aurobindo Pharma Ltd bought four biosimilar products from Swiss firm TL Biopharmaceutical AG, marking its entry into the evolving biosimilar space.

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