Last week, AstraZeneca (London) signed a license and supply agreement with the drug company and manufacturer Torrent Pharmaceuticals (Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India), under which Torrent will supply to AstraZeneca a portfolio of generic medicines for emerging markets. This agreement follows other deals by the large pharmaceutical companies to partner with generic-drug manufacturers to increase their product presence in emerging markets.
Under the agreement, AstraZeneca initially will purchase from Torrent the licenses and market authorizations for 18 products in nine countries. The agreement allows the flexibility to add further products and new countries where AstraZeneca sees opportunities for growth. Financial terms were not disclosed.
“In markets where consumers and physicians have a strong preference for trusted brands, we believe AstraZeneca’s longstanding reputation for quality is a sustainable competitive advantage,” said Tony Zook, head of AstraZeneca’s global commercial organization, in a company press release. “Working in partnership with Torrent will extend the range of branded medicines we can offer to patients in emerging markets, where we see continuing opportunities for our business to grow.”
Torrent currently supplies products to roughly 50 countries, according to the press release. The company has two large manufacturing plants in India. Its facility in Chhatral, Gujarat, has annual capacity to manufacture approximately three billion tablets, capsules, and vials and 20,000 kilograms of active pharmaceutical ingredient. The company’s manufacturing plant at Baddi, Himachal Pradesh, has an annual capacity to manufacture 3.6 billion tablets, 150 million capsules, 10 million oral liquid bottles, and 12 million sachets. The company also has a research and development center in Gujarat that employs 600 scientists and offers services in discovery research, generic-drug development, new drug-delivery systems, and valued-added generics, according to the AstraZeneca release.
In partnering with Torrent, AstraZeneca joins a growing list of pharmaceutical majors forming partnerships with drug and manufacturing companies in emerging markets. In 2009, GlaxoSmithline (GSK, London) partnered with Dr. Reddy Laboratories (Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh, India), one of India’s largest pharmaceutical companies. According to their agreement, Dr. Reddy will manufacture and supply drugs to GSK, which will license and comarket the drugs in various countries in Africa, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific, and Latin America. In December 2009, GSK extended its strategic relationship and acquired a 19% stake in the South African pharmaceutical company Aspen PharmaCare (Johannesburg). GSK initially formed a collaboration in 2008 with Aspen and its joint venture partner, Strides Arcolab (Bangalore, Karnataka, India), on a licensing and supply basis for a portfolio of branded pharmaceutical products in emerging markets.
In January 2010, Pfizer (New York) formed collaboration with Strides Arcolab under which Pfizer will commercialize off-patent sterile injectable and oral products in the US. The finished dosage-form products will be licensed and supplied by Strides, Onco Laboratories, and Onco Therapies, two joint ventures between Strides and Aspen PharmaCare. And in 2009, Pfizer partnered with Aurobindo Pharma (Hyderabad, Andra Pradesh, India) and Claris Lifesciences (Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India). Under the deal with Aurobindo, Pfizer acquired the rights to 55 solid oral-dose products and five sterile injectables in 70 emerging markets and will commercialize those products. Pfizer also acquired the rights to 15 generic injectables from Claris Lifesciences.
With recent acquisitions of several generic-drug companies, Zentiva (Prague), Kendrick (Mexico City), and Medley (São Paulo), sanofi-aventis (Paris) also recently enhanced its generic-drug portfolio and position in emerging markets.