India eyes R&D opportunities

India-based drugs have made a name for themselves as makers of copycat drugs. When a developer's lucrative drug goes off-patent, Indian companies are guaranteed to swoop in and make a less-expensive knock-off of the therapy. It's a strategy that's definitly paid off for the developers.

But now some of these companies are shifting gears and developing their own drugs from scratch. Why now? Mainly because the talent pool in India has improved to the point where drugmakers have the resources to do their own R&D. "In the past, anyone interested in fundamental re­search had to go to the West, but the talent is here and now the barrier is broken," says Ian Cliffe, a senior executive at Ranbaxy. Another factor is India's new patent protection laws, which were a condition of its acceptance into the World Trade Organization.

Ranbaxy recently announced plans to spin off its R&D unit. Sun Pharma, Orchid Research, Wockhardt, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals and Nicholas Piramal all have plans to do the same. India is betting its lower costs and talent pool will give it a leg up in the global pharmaceutical market in the coming years.

- read the Financial Times article for more

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