Biocon chief holds the key for Pfizer's next big insulin play

India's Biocon received a $200 million upfront payment from Pfizer for its deal to partner on four new generic insulin products, first for emerging markets and then for the U.S. and other developed nations. And analysts call it an ideal match, giving Pfizer a way back into the $14 billion insulin market and Biocon a lucrative new development opportunity.

For Biocon chief Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, it's yet another big step forward for her biotech business. Mazumdar-Shaw got started learning about enzymes when she was studying to join the family's brewery. And many of the same scientific concepts were later channeled into the company's therapeutic development work.

"I could actually leverage all that I had done for enzymes and start applying it to biopharmaceuticals," Mazumdar-Shaw told Bloomberg Businessweek. Biocon has captured 10 percent of India's insulin market with one product. But their work in insulin hasn't been trouble-free. IN-105, an insulin pill, failed to hit its primary endpoint in January. But Mazumdar-Shaw still believes it can go on to become a blockbuster.

- here's the story from Bloomberg