Natco may next attack Pfizer, Roche drugs with compulsory license

Indian genericsmaker Natco Pharma, having knocked off Bayer's cancer drug Nexavar with a compulsory license, says it is lining up the targets it wants to shoot at next.

Natco's CEO Rajeev Nannapaneni isn't naming names but tells The Wall Street Journal's, "There are certain products which are eligible for compulsory licensing."

In March, the Indian government granted Natco a compulsory license to produce Bayer's liver and kidney cancer drug Nexavar. Basically it says that need and the high price of Nexavar make it medically necessary for Bayer to allow others to make a generic version of the pricey cancer med. Natco is selling it for $170 a month, compared with Bayer's $5,000 a month price. Cipla, another Indian genericsmaker jumped right in as well, offering it at $130 a month.

While Nannapaneni may be playing coy, the company has already tipped its hand on some of the drugs it wants to copy. Last year, it announced that it had plans for a copy-cat version of the Pfizer ($PFE) HIV drug Selzentry (maraviroc). It said it could sell for about $330 a month a drug for which Pfizer charges $1,430 a month, well beyond the reach of many patients since most people in India have no health insurance coverage.

In addition, Shamnad Basheer, an intellectual property law professor at India's National University of Juridical Sciences , tells that in addition to Selzentry, Natco is probably sizing up another Pfizer drug, the cancer therapy Sutent, as well as Roche's ($RHHBY) Tarceva, also a cancer treatment.

Bayer has appealed the Nexavar ruling and the U.S. has threatened to take action against India at the World Trade Organization. But for now that doesn't seem to be slowing up Natco.

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