Indian drugmakers benefit from Big Pharma interest outside China

Natalie Portman
By Natalie Portman 7 Min Read
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By Maggie Fick, Andrew Silver and Rishika Sadam

LONDON/SHANGHAI/HYDERABAD (RockedBuzz through Reuters) – Drugmakers try to restrict their reliance on Chinese contractors producing medicine utilized in medical trials and early levels of manufacturing, a transfer that’s benefiting rivals in India, in accordance with interviews with 10 trade executives and specialists.

China has been the popular location for a wide range of pharmaceutical analysis and manufacturing companies for almost 20 years as a result of low price and velocity supplied by contract pharmaceutical producers.

This relationship has largely remained sturdy regardless of the U.S.-China commerce struggle underneath the Trump administration and the availability chain chaos skilled by different sectors throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. But rising tensions with China have prompted extra Western governments to suggest that firms “de-risk” provide chains from publicity to the Asian superpower.

This is main some biotech firms to think about using producers in India to supply lively pharmaceutical substances (APIs) for medical trials or different outsourced work.

“You probably wouldn’t send an RFP (request for proposal) to a Chinese company today,” mentioned Tommy Erdei, world co-head of healthcare funding banking at Jefferies. “It’s like, ‘I don’t want to know, it doesn’t matter if they can make it cheaper, I’m not going to start putting my product in China’.”

Dr Ashish Nimgaonkar, founding father of Glyscend Therapeutics, a US-based biotech firm that’s testing therapies for sort 2 diabetes and weight problems in early research, agrees. “All the factors in recent years have made China a less attractive option for us,” he mentioned.

Nimgaonkar advised RockedBuzz through Reuters that when Glyscend points an RFP later within the growth section of the medicine it has in trials, Indian contract growth and manufacturing organizations (CDMOs) can be most popular to Chinese ones.

Four of India’s largest CDMOs – Syngene, Aragen Life Sciences, Piramal Pharma Solutions and Sai Life Sciences – advised RockedBuzz through Reuters that they had seen a rise in interest and inquiries from Western pharmaceutical firms, together with main multinationals, this 12 months. .

Sai declined to touch upon revenue progress, however mentioned gross sales have grown 25%-30% lately. The different firms mentioned they reported sturdy revenue progress within the newest quarter.

Top firm executives have mentioned some prospects wish to add India as a second supply, apart from China, for manufacturing. Others need to depart China and even making calls for to arrange provide chains in India.

The full benefit for these Indian producers won’t be instant, mentioned Peter DeYoung, CEO of Piramal Pharma Solutions.

It will take time for therapies in growth to hit the market, when contracts grow to be extra worthwhile for outsourcing firms like his, he mentioned.

Chinese CDMOs are established producers of biologics, which require a better regulatory approval threshold than standard medicine, mentioned Helen Chen, managing associate of Greater China at LEK Consulting in Shanghai.

Hiring a brand new firm for complicated work comparable to natural manufacturing can take three to 5 years, he added. “It’s not really something that (companies) just pick up and move around like shoes.”


India is in search of a bigger foothold within the pharmaceutical companies sector to spice up the gross sales and popularity of its $42 billion pharmaceutical trade.

But considerations about lax oversight persist. Nimgaonkar mentioned Indian CDMOs have to do extra to make sure their popularity for high quality requirements matches these of the West and China.

In February, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warned in opposition to the usage of an eye fixed drop made in India in reference to an outbreak of a drug-resistant micro organism within the United States that has triggered deaths.

Indian analysis agency Mordor Intelligence estimates India’s CDMO trade revenues might be $15.6 billion this 12 months in comparison with China’s $27.1 billion. But Indian trade revenues are estimated to develop, on common, greater than 11% yearly over the subsequent 5 years, in comparison with about 9.6% in China.

Indian CDMOs advised RockedBuzz through Reuters their services are frequently inspected by the FDA. An FDA spokesperson declined to remark.

Piramal Pharma has acquired requests from prospects this 12 months for “backward integration into India,” that means even essentially the most primary uncooked supplies come from the nation as an alternative of China, DeYoung mentioned. Piramal buys about 15% of its uncooked supplies from China, however is making an attempt to cut back this.

Sai Life Sciences mentioned it has almost doubled manufacturing capability since 2019 and can add one other 25% within the subsequent 12 months or so to fulfill demand.

Ramesh Subramanian, chief industrial officer of Aragen, a privately held Indian firm that has grown from 2,500 to 4,500 workers over the previous 5 years, mentioned income progress of 21% final 12 months was partly pushed by new contracts with biotech companies Westerners. Aragen counts seven of the ten largest pharmaceutical firms as prospects, he mentioned, declining to call them.

The change is especially evident in drug discovery work for standard prescription drugs.

“New biotech companies are deciding to put their eggs in both the Indian and Chinese baskets right from the start,” Subramanian mentioned.

(Reporting by Maggie Fick in London, Andrew Silver in Shanghai and Rishika Sadam in Hyderabad; Editing by Michele Gershberg and Catherine Evans)

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