Amgen gets cosier with Dr. Reddy's, adding three marketed drugs to Indian partnership

Amgen seems to be happy with the way its collaboration with India's Dr. Reddy's Laboratories is shaping up, as it has just doubled the number of products covered by the deal.

Last year, Amgen raised eyebrows after giving Dr. Reddy's responsibility for late-stage development and regulatory filings for three of its leading products in India, including new cholesterol-lowering antibody Repatha. 

Now the U.S. biotech has added three more products to the mix--Xgeva for treating bone metastases in cancer patients, colorectal cancer therapy Vectibix and Prolia for osteoporosis--as it tries to bulk up sales in the $17 billion Indian drug market. 

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All three of these products are already approved for marketing in India, so the new deal immediately elevates the relationship between the two companies to a commercial footing. Xgeva, Vectibix and Prolia together accounted for $3.26 billion in sales for Amgen last year, around 16% of the biotech's total product sales, and are all important mid-range products for the company.

Along with Repatha, Amgen's 2015 deal with Dr. Reddy's also covered Kyprolis for multiple myeloma and immunotherapy Blincyto. Dr. Reddy's hopes of a speedy approval for Repatha took a tumble last month after its plan to waive local trials of the drug were dashed, and Kyprolis and Blincyto have also not yet been approved for marketing in India.

The new agreement is a boost for Dr. Reddy's at a time when the Indian drugmaker is still trying to bring some of its manufacturing facilities up to code and struggling with downward pressure on pricing for its generic medicines, particularly in the U.S.

Having three already-approved products in the pipe also helps Dr. Reddy's strategy of building up a branded business in its home market. The drugmaker still makes around 95% of its turnover from generics but wants to increase its standing in more profitable medicines. 

To that end, it bought a series of UCB's branded products for $135 million last year, and according to a strategic update published this month has been focusing its sales and marketing efforts on key brands as well as scaling up detailing efforts to healthcare institutions. 

It is also focusing more on the in-house development of complex generic drugs--such as U.S.-approved auto-injector migraine formulation Zembrace and Sernivo topical steroid spray for psoriasis--as well as biosimilars and proprietary drugs. 

Amgen's general manager for the Japan and Asia Pacific region, Penny Wan, said "We are pleased with the commitment Dr. Reddy’s has demonstrated toward making our medicines available in India as quickly as possible."

- read the Amgen press release
- take a look at Dr. Reddy's latest investors' presentation

Related Articles:
Amgen's plan for a speedy launch of Repatha in India hits the skids
Dr. Reddy's in surprise India pact on three leading Amgen therapies
India's Dr. Reddy's widens strategies to move beyond basic generics
UCB hands over South Asia branded drugs to Dr. Reddy's in latest slimdown plan

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