By Nesa Nourmohammadi
2011 generic drug sales: $1.65 billion
Growth rate 2011: 29%
Growth rate 2010: 52%
If there is one word to describe why Indian generics makers make it onto our list, it's "branded." And Sun Pharmaceutical Industries is no exception.
Last year, the Mumbai-based pharma company struck the hot branded generics market and took off. It captured an exclusive deal with Merck ($MRK) to deliver generics to emerging markets, following other Big Pharma partnerships with Indian drugmakers, including GlaxoSmithKline and Dr. Reddy's Laboratories, and AstraZeneca ($AZN) and Torrent Pharmaceuticals.
Around one week after Sun and Merck announced their partnership, Sun capitalized on the growing prevalence of diabetes in India by rolling out its versions of Januvia and Janumet. Also among its generic arsenal are versions of the AstraZeneca cholesterol fighter Crestor and Sanofi's ALS treatment Rilutek.
Looking ahead, Sun may see even more growth in 2012, notably in the U.S. market. The cancer drug Eloxatin finally goes off patent in August, so, after several years of patent wrangling with Sanofi, Sun will finally get to put its version back on the market. Earlier this year, it won FDA approval for its version of the Eli Lilly blockbuster antipsychotic Zyprexa, after a nod for copycat Seroquel, AstraZeneca's drug in the same class.
The company also has 150 applications for new approvals pending, with 180-day exclusives on copies of Lilly's Strattera, for ADHD, and Novartis' ($NVS) Exelon, for Alzheimer's disease, according to Indian media reports. Both those products are expected to launch this year. And in 2015, Sun expects to enjoy that first-to-file exclusivity on versions of Forest Laboratories' ($FRX) Namenda, also for Alzheimer's; and Novartis' cancer blockbuster Gleevec.