2014 Generics Sales: $2 billion +19%
Worldwide Market Share: 2.7%
India's Lupin stumbled a bit in its home country, publicly railing against the government's restrictive pricing policies and patent decisions. So it comes as no surprise that the company is looking elsewhere to boost business--albeit with mixed success. But despite difficulties at home, the drugmaker still achieved impressive growth last year.
To help, the company bought its way into the rapidly growing sterile injectables market with a deal for Netherlands-based drugmaker Nanomi, diversifying its offerings while extending its reach in a market where it recognizes the need to grow. "In Europe, we are really small. So we have a focus in looking at building a specialty presence as well as a generics presence," CEO Vinita Gupta said last year. And Lupin would be willing to spend $1 billion on the right deal, she added, growing its presence on the continent while building its capabilities in specialty products.
But Lupin fell short of achieving its stateside ambitions in 2014, with business "far from where we would like it to be," Lupin Managing Director Nilesh Gupta said earlier this year. The Mumbai-based company planned to bring 15 to 20 drugs to market in the U.S., but racked up only 9 approvals in 2014.
Still, Nilesh Gupta remains optimistic that the company can swing numbers northward and achieve 15 to 20 U.S. launches by the end of 2015, helping Lupin rise in the ranks of U.S. generic drug suppliers. As it stands, the company says it's the fifth largest generic drug supplier in the U.S. with a market share of 5.3%.
And despite the challenges, Lupin grew its profit in 2014 to 130 billion crore ($2 billion) in sales for the year ending March 31, 2015, up from 114 crore year over year.
The company has big ambitions, aiming for $5 billion in sales by 2018. International expansion could play a key part in chasing that goal, and Lupin is looking for buyouts that will help keep it on track. Russia's $20 billion market presents an attractive option, Nilesh Gupta said earlier this year, adding that it would scout out small deals similar to those it has done in the past.
Still, Lupin could face some obstacles, especially in India. Regulatory issues continue to plague the company in the country, where the FDA came down on it earlier this year for manufacturing shortcomings at one of its key plants. Lupin did not specify what problems the agency found at its facility, but the action adds to regulators' ongoing battle with Indian drugmakers over quality at manufacturing sites.
And the company could face pushback for its generic marketing in the U.S. in light of backlash over drug pricing. In September, Lupin came under scrutiny after a report showed that it raised the price for diabetes drug Fortamet in the U.S. by 200%. While the price is lower than that of a rival drug from Canada's Valeant ($VRX), the company's move could trigger backlash from payers and the public unhappy with pharma companies' recent pricing decisions.
-- Emily Wasserman (email | Twitter)
India's Lupin in price rise spotlight for diabetes drug in the U.S.
Shooting for $5B in sales, India's Lupin says it can actually hit U.S. launch goal this year
Lupin now free to make a $1B deal with foreign investors, thanks to Indian cabinet decision
India's Lupin ready to spend $1B to bulk up in EU
Unhappy with price caps at home, Indian drugmakers eye more U.S. growth