Cipla targets $19B biosimilar market with string of new deals

India's Cipla is paying $65 million to buy a significant minority stake in two Asian biotech companies with plans to develop a range of discounted biosimilars. And Cipla's chairman says he specifically wants to create follow-on therapies to three of Roche's top biologics--Avastin, Herceptin and Enbrel--that account for $19 billion in annual revenue.

"Avastin, Enbrel, Herceptin--these are all being marketed today, but the prices are very high," Cipla Chairman Yusuf Hamied, who built the company into a billion-dollar business, tells Bloomberg. "We will have biosimilars for them."

"We will buy a 40 percent stake in Goa-based Mab Pharm and a 25 percent stake in Bio Mabs, Shanghai, through subscription of fresh shares," Hamied told the Economic Times. Cipla gains the rights to sell the biosimilars in India and has also struck a marketing pact with an undisclosed Chinese company.

Cipla is following in the footsteps of other Indian drugmakers like Dr. Reddy's and Biocon, which is partnered with Mylan to develop biosimilars. Cipla's chief says he wants to develop a range of biosimilars for cancer, asthma and rheumatism that can be sold in developing nations around the world.

- read the story from Bloomberg
- here's the report from the Economic Times