Natco brings its scrappy style to U.S. with Copaxone, Revlimid knockoffs

Generics player Natco Pharma has already made plenty of waves in the Indian pharma market with cheaper versions of blockbuster meds, playing by a patent challenge strategy that's ignited the ire of more than one Big Pharma company. Now, as it awaits U.S. approval for its knockoff of Teva's ($TEVA) Copaxone, it's eyeing up other products to copy, too.

The Indian drugmaker has filed 11 FDA applications to sell generics of branded drugs--pre-patent expiration, Bloomberg reports. In addition to its version of the Teva multiple sclerosis star--which it expects to launch in the next 6 months--Natco is also aiming for copies of Celgene's ($CELG) Revlimid and Roche's ($RHHBY) Tamiflu, said Natco's VP of business development Rajesh Chebiyam.

And if it gets them, the top-line results could be transformational for the Hyderabad outfit. Copaxone's brand sales tallied $4.2 billion in 2014, with Revlimid and Tamiflu raking in a combined $6 billion, Bloomberg points out.

Generic versions obviously bring in less revenue, but for Natco, these knockoffs could be huge. "These are high-value products that can change where we are," Chebiyam said, noting that if the regulatory go-ahead comes for the MS treatment and others this year, Natco's revenues could double by 2017.

Natco has plenty of practice dismantling the industry's IP shields on its home turf. It's challenged patents--and won--for drugs such as Novartis' ($NVS) blood cancer sensation Glivec and Pfizer's ($PFE) kidney cancer med Sutent. It also snagged the first-ever compulsory license awarded in the country, which allowed Natco to legally churn out copies of Bayer's Nexavar.

So far, though, Big Pharma hasn't much liked Natco's market disruptions, and the company likely won't win too many points on U.S. soil, either. Bayer chief Marijn Dekkers, for one, railed on the company over the Nexavar licensing, calling it "essentially theft."

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