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Piramal Buys Bayer’s Potential Alzheimer Drug

19 April, 2012

Mumbai-based Piramal Healthcare has acquired the worldwide rights to the molecular imaging research and development portfolio of Bayer Pharma AG for an undisclosed amount.

The portfolio includes rights to florbetaben (in final stages of its phase III clinical trials), which helps detect beta-Amyloid plaque deposition in the brain – an indication of probable Alzheimer’s disease.

“This is the second acquisition of late-stage assets after our acquisition of assets of BioSyntech in 2011, where we have recently received the European CE mark approval for an innovative bio-orthopaedic product for the cartilage repair, BST-CarGel, which enables the company to commercialise BST-CarGel in all the countries in the European Union. We plan to build a promising portfolio in the pharma space, including our newly acquired molecular imaging assets, which will help us create a global branded pharma business,” said Ajay Piramal, chairman of the Piramal Group.

The company estimates a market size of anywhere between $1 billion and $1.5 billion, and would fight for it with other global biggies, such as Pfizer and Eli Lilly.

Piramal Healthcare scrip declined 1.45 per cent to close at Rs 443.8 a share on the BSE on Monday after the firm announced the deal.

As per the agreement, Piramal will have the intellectual property (including patents, trademarks and know-how), worldwide development, marketing and distribution rights of the lead compound florbetaben, as well as other clinical and pre-clinical assets of Bayer’s molecular imaging business. Piramal is planning to file for regulatory approvals this year.

The public-listed healthcare firm, which is now repositioning itself as a diversified business organisation and will also rechristen itself as Piramal Enterprises soon, has struck a new deal in healthcare business also almost two years.

It had struck a deal to buy assets of BioSyntech in June 2010, the same year when it snapped Bharat Serum & Vaccine’s anaesthetic products business and acquired iPill from Cipla. Soon thereafter, it sold off its domestic formulations business in a $3.8 billion deal to Abbott and the diagnostics business to

Super Religare Laboratories. Since then, the company has expanded into lending business through a non-banking financial company (NBFC) and also acquired the group’s private equity real estate business Indiareit Fund. The board had recently taken permission from its shareholders to expand into a host of new businesses – financial services, insurance, security systems & technology, infrastructure and real estate development, engineering, including EPC, IT and packaging business.

In the recent past, it had been busy investing in non-pharma businesses – both for business diversification and utilisation of the cash generated from the sale to Abbott. The biggest chunk of around $1.2 billion has been invested to buy a minority stake in telecom firm Vodafone Essar.


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Piramal Buys Bayer’s Potential Alzheimer Drug

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