Dr. Reddy's in surprise India pact on three leading Amgen therapies

India's Dr. Reddy's Laboratories ($RDY) will seek regulatory nods to market Amgen's ($AMGN) multiple myeloma drug Kyprolis, immunotherapy Blincyto and PCSK9 inhibitor Repatha in India, the Hyderabad-based company said in a press release, in something of a surprise move by both companies.

The Indian company has recently spiffed up its face to the world with the launch in July of a new online visual identity and brand slogan, "Good Health Can't Wait," along with a new logo and corporate color scheme.

Satish Reddy, chairman of Dr. Reddy's, has recently said that the company needs to expand in the U.S. and emerging markets this year and react out to companies in those markets as well as Japan to be among innovative drug companies globally as well as a manufacturer of biosimilars.

Dr. Reddy's Laboratories reported this month that consolidated net profit for the quarter ended June rose 14% to 6.26 billion rupees ($97.8 million) and again highlighted the same plans.

Though the arrangement does not include manufacturing, it appears that it may include at least submissions to Indian regulators, though there was no mention of clinical trials in the release.

For its part, Amgen late last year announced an expansion of its manufacturing operations in Singapore, joining Novartis ($NVS), AbbVie ($ABBV) and GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) among multinationals that have broken ground or expanded manufacturing operations in the wealthy city-state in the past three years aimed at Asian growth.

In India, Amgen has cited Dr. Reddy's reach to the therapy areas linked to the drugs as a key reason for the pact and in a country where Amgen would lag major domestic companies on sales reps.

"Dr. Reddy's has significant experience serving oncology and cardiovascular patients in India and shares Amgen's interest in delivering new treatment options to seriously ill patients," said Penny Wan, Amgen vice president and general manager, Japan Asia Pacific Region.

Kyprolis was approved for the treatment of patients with relapsed multiple myeloma in combination with Celgene's ($CELG) Revlimid and dexamethasone by the U.S. FDA last month. Blincyto was granted accelerated approval by the U.S. regulator and Repatha won a European Medicines Agency nod in July for treatment of high cholesterol.

The deal with Dr. Reddy's or expansion of the products into Asia was not discussed on the recent Amgen quarterly earning call, which did highlight Vectibix sales with partner Takeda Pharmaceuticals in Japan where Amgen has long history of tie-ups and sales efforts.

But the U.S.-based company has been less active in emerging markets and in India, particularly where intellectual property hurdles remain a point of contention for many multinationals.

In Asia, Kyowa Hakko Kirin, or KHK, in late July released data from two Japanese trials with brodalumab that showed primary efficacy and safety endpoints met in two long-term Phase III studies in Japan.

KHK bought Japan and selected Asian market rights to brodalumab from a 2010 Kirin-Amgen joint venture.

- here's the release (PDF)