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India looks for multibillion-dollar growth in booming biosimilars niche

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The developing biosimilars market in the U.S. and Europe still looks a little hazy to analysts, with many still pondering just how quickly these biologic knockoffs can muscle aside some powerhouse competition from well-known brands. But in Asia, the global market looms as a ripe, multibillion-dollar opportunity that has attracted growing investments from some leading players.

India's Economic Times underscores just how avid developers in the subcontinent are to play in this emerging market niche. The director general of the Pharmaceuticals Export Promotion Council, PV Appaji, garnered headlines for his projection that biosimilars would command $10 billion in revenue in 2015, up from $500 million. He added that China is the leading country engaged in biosimilars R&D, followed by South Korea--where the multinationals have jumped in--and then India, with 3% of the market.

But that figure is expected to mushroom rapidly.

"India will have at least 20-25% market share in biosimilars market over the next five years as more than 100 major Indian pharmaceutical companies are spending largely on research pertaining to biosimilars," Appaji told the newspaper.   

India's pharma industry is best known for its generics business, quickly ramping up production of traditional drugs that can be sold at a fraction of the branded cost. And it's been aggressively hammering away at some of the biggest drug franchises in the business. What the country's developers have not done with much success is develop novel drugs. Perhaps biosimilars, which initially will face some stringent demands from U.S. regulators, represent the kind of follow-on market the country can dominate.  

Among the Indian companies engaged are: Dr. Reddy's, Biocon, Cipla, Avesthagen, Intas, Reliance Life Sciences and Wockhardt, according to the Economic Times.

- here's the story from the Economic Times

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