Indian generics powerhouse Dr. Reddy’s has prioritized biosimilars as a key component of the global organization’s ongoing transition into a specialty pharma company.
As one of the first companies in the developing world to branch out into this segment – launching four biosimilar products between 2001 and 2011 – Dr. Reddy’s now has three biosimilars in R&D and three in Phase III clinical trials for the USA. The company’s biosimilars revenues have tripled since first internationalizing in 2011, volume production has increased fivefold, and manufacturing capacities have been expanded and upgraded “to meet both the expected growth of our currently marketed biosimilars as well as support the launch of a significant portfolio of new biosimilar products in the years to come,” according to Raymond De Vré, senior vice president Biologics.
De Vré outlines the company’s vision: “Dr. Reddy’s is known the world over as a pioneer and leader in quality generics, but our aspiration is to become very much more than that in the future.”
The company has identified a two-pronged strategy for its biosimilars activities, consolidating activities in emerging markets while simultaneously breaking through into tightly-regulated mature ones. As De Vré points out, biosimilars, in addition to being an affordable way to “increase patient access to biotech-based therapies in economies with low purchasing power and limited state financial firepower … are also coming to be highly valued in mature, developed markets as a way of cutting costs and generating savings in line with the prevailing climate of austerity policies.”
In the latter markets, Dr. Reddy’s stands out as “one of only a handful of Indian outfits to have generated the appropriate volumes and quality of evidence to stand a chance of being able to successfully navigate [the regulatory process]”.
Within this transition to becoming a significant biosimilars player in both emerging and mature markets, Switzerland emerges as a vital piece of the jigsaw. Compared to India, where obstacles abound in international capital flows and onerous bureaucracy, “Switzerland offers a much more favorable jurisdiction while also being strategically located right in the heart of Western Europe,” notes De Vré.
Building on a long-established legal entity in Switzerland, Dr. Reddy’s is now enhancing its Swiss presence by establishing a regional headquarters of 25-30 people. De Vré points out that “Switzerland, and especially Basel, forms the nucleus of an entire life sciences ecosystem where there is ready access to an excellent talent pool. It is also a great meeting place where industry, government and academia closely interact so an excellent location for forging relationships and identifying and initiating new partnerships.”
He continues, “If you’re conducting technology deals with British, German and French companies, it is essential to have a permanent presence in Europe and Switzerland lies in the backyard of all of these significant pharma markets, not to underestimate the importance of Swiss life sciences technology itself.”