Biocon to set up R&D facility in India to boost biosimilars development

In a bid to expand its research base, India’s largest biopharmaceutical company Biocon has acquired some assets from Pfizer Healthcare to set up its second R&D plant in India.

The assets have been acquired by Biocon Biologics, a subsidiary of the Bengaluru-based company, for an undisclosed amount to set up a 60,000 square feet state-of-the-art R&D facility in Chennai.

“The high-end integrated R&D facility in Chennai will enable Biocon Biologics to expand its R&D capability and accelerate its journey towards meeting its strategic long-term goal of addressing the needs of millions of patients worldwide,” said Christiane Hamacher, CEO, Biocon Biologics. The centre will be operational in a few months.

Currently, Biocon has a 200,000 square feet R&D centre at Bengaluru which has a product pipeline of 28 molecules, including 11 with Mylan, few with Sandoz and rest on its own.  

This investment will allow the company to fast-forward development of its biosimilars from bench to pilot scale, said a company spokesperson.

“R&D is at the core of what we do and I believe this facility will enable us to pursue breakthrough innovation in pursuit of providing affordable access to high quality biosimilars and inclusive healthcare solutions aimed at transforming patient lives globally,” said Hamacher.

According to a McKinsey report, the biosimilars market is expected to be pegged at $15 billion by 2020.

“Biosimilars offer attractive prospects for Indian players, especially in the US and EU markets, and this investment will help Biocon capiltalise such an opportunity,” said Gaurav Jain, vice-president, ICRA.

Biocon chose the strategy of acquiring the R&D assets to set up its facility over a greenfield project to accelerate the global development of its biosimilars portfolio, explained the spokesperson.

Once operational, the facility is expected to house over 250 scientists who will have access to the R&D labs equipped with over 500 high-end process and analytical instrumentation.  

The company’s biologics business had registered a growth of the 96 per cent at Rs 490 crore in the quarter ended June, led by the expansion of geographical footprint and increased penetration of products in key developed and emerging markets.

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