Panacea Biotec and Apotex form alliance

Delhi-based drugmaker Panacea Biotec Ltd has formed a strategic alliance with Apotex Inc, a Canadian pharmaceutical company for carrying out research and development activities, as per a stock market disclosure.

The alliance was initially established for a drug for which Panacea Biotec has received research fee and the product development is progressing. Panacea and Apotex have added a second product to their collaboration. Both these products have been developed using Panacea's proprietary platform. The current sales of the products are worth $1 billion.

Rajesh Jain, joint managing director of Panacea Biotec Ltd said, “This alliance with Apotex is one of the milestones in our global generics strategy and we are happy to have them as our partner.”

“Successfully developing nanoparticle, liposome and microparticle drug delivery based anti-cancer products in a major step in our plan to widen our presence in the oncology market,” he added.

In addition to an upfront research fee from Apotex, Panacea will receive a share of the development cost and profit post commercialisation of the products shall be shared.

As per the agreement Panacea will be responsible of product delivery and will manufacture and supply the products to Apotex, whereas Apotex will look after regulatory affairs and commercialisation.

Steven Lydeamore, chief business officer of Apotex, said, “This alliance is another example of Apotex seeking to develop partnerships with select companies to enable access to products and technologies where Apotex does not have its own manufacturing capabilities.”

Apotex produces more than 300 generic molecules in around 4,000 dosages in Canada. It operates through affiliates in Canada, the US, Australia, Belgium, Central America, Czech Republic, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Spain, New Zealand and Saudi Arabia.

Earlier this year Panacea Biotec was looking to raise up to Rs 250 crore ($42 million) by way of issue of securities. It has also put its Gurgaon-based hospital—Panacea New Rise—on the block.

The company has been facing financial headwinds and saw its consolidated net revenue decline 12.5 per cent to Rs 475 crore for the year ended March 31, 2014. Its net loss halved to Rs 116.88 crore in the same period. Its finance cost rose almost 50 per cent to Rs 150 crore last year.

It started facing challenges in 2011, when World Health Organisation (WHO) delisted three of its diphtheria-pertussis-tetanus based combination vaccines from its list of pre-qualified vaccines. A year later, Panacea withdrew its oral polio vaccine from WHO’s list of pre-qualified vaccines stating the facility where the vaccine is manufactured needs further corrective actions.

Panacea has been looking at ways to divest its assets to raise capital. Earlier, it entered into a partnership with Bestech Group to develop a township project over 100-acre plot at Pataudi Road in Gurgaon.

(Edited by Joby Puthuparampil Johnson)

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