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Unique Approach to Drug Discovery - Starting on a Positive Note
"If you ask me to pick up the greater opportunity between Drug Discovery and Generics business, I would say both," says Glen Saldanha, CMD, Glenmark. He shares Glenmark’s recent successes and the strategies.

At Glenmark, we believe that innovation is the most important aspect that can transition us to a truly global pharmaceutical company. And we have been focusing on innovation for the last 12 years or so. Drug discovery and development has a long gestation period and we are willing to give it time. This for us is a constant challenge as drug discovery is fraught with risks. We have adopted a unique model, where we focus on discovering primarily fi rst-in-class molecules globally and out-license them to big pharma in the development stage. By doing so, the cost of development is borne by the partner while we utilise the milestone/upfront payment to further fuel our novel pipeline. In a short period, we have concluded seven out-licensing deals with big pharma and received over USD 200 million in milestone/upfront payments for our own molecules. Each of our molecules if commercialised can generate at least a billion dollar in sales which will be transformational for the organisation.

In the December 2012, we concluded an agreement with Forest Laboratories, Inc for the development of novel mPGES-1 inhibitors to treat chronic inflammatory conditions, including pain. This collaboration reinforces our strategy of partnering to achieve our goal of launching innovative technologies around the world. Also, the New Year (2013) began on a positive note for us with the USFDA approving Crofelemer, Glenmark’s in-licensed molecule. This approval of Crofelemer for HIV associated diarrhea will pave the way for the launch of Crofelemer across 140 countries including India, where Glenmark has exclusive rights. This is a significant approval milestone and will enable the first New Chemical Entity (NCE) launch by Glenmark across emerging markets.

While, mentioning about our strategies and recent successes on the drug discovery front, it should not be forgotten that Glenmark is also performing exceptionally well on the generics business side. A 2012 report by Evaluate Pharma, a leading global pharmaceutical research agency has placed us among the top five Fastest Growing Generics companies of the world. The high growth is due to our focus in building a strong emerging markets business in addition to having a significant presence in India and US.

If you ask me to pick up the greater opportunity between Drug Discovery and Generics business, I would say both. This is because If you study organisations like Teva which have hitherto focused primarily on generic business even their business model is transitioning to find the right balance between innovation and generics. If you look at the other side, then Big Pharma which traditionally invested in developing new drugs are making huge investments in India, Brazil and other emerging markets to tap into the generics potential. Today the lines are blurring between innovation and generics business. In this aspect Glenmark is well positioned as we have been focusing on generic markets of India, US, Brazil and Russia. At the same time we have invested and also been fairly successful in the innovation business. The competencies that we have gained on the innovation side are being leveraged to launch differentiated products in the branded generics business across markets like Brazil and Russia. On the innovation side, the focus is to stay ahead in our areas of research and outlicense our own molecules to big pharma when the molecules reach clinical stage of development. I am confident that this two-pronged approach of focusing on drug discovery and generics business will give us great dividends going ahead and herald Glenmark in the big league of global pharmaceutical organisations.