Strides Pharma likely to launch affordable insulin from Stelis stable

Strides Pharma Science could get access to the insulin market as Stelis Biopharma, in which it is in the process of acquiring a controlling stake, is building an integrated insulin and insulin analogue platform with proprietary technology.

The Bengaluru-headquartered company believes Stelis could be a disruptor in insulin accessibility and affordability. Strides may commercialise the insulin coming out of the R&D facility in future but has not set a timeline for the same.

A World Health Organization (WHO) report says there are 73 million people suffering from diabetes in India and the prices of insulin in the country have gone up by 20 per cent between June 2018 and June 2019 due to rising demand and a weakening rupee.

“Stelis’ R&D and clinical strategy for insulins are designed for the global markets,” said Strides.

With the prices of insulin rising globally and reports of people rationing the usage, which is even leading to deaths, a breakthrough in insulin affordability would have several takers around the world.

Biopharmaceutical major Biocon had also recently announced that it would be reducing the rates of insulin from the current $5 Rs 350) to 7 cents (Rs 10) per day for lower and middle income countries, including India.

Strides is in the process of reclaiming control of Stelis, five years after it sold its stake to GMS Holdings, and is injecting an additional $40 million in the company. It holds 43 per cent stake in Stelis Biopharma.

Stelis has received over $160 million in investments, of which $91 million is represented by equity capital infused by Strides and its equity partners. The company has already invested $35 million in Stelis.

With the proposed infusion of up to $40 million by the company and pending equity commitments from other partners, Stelis would have attained critical size to break even at the operational level in the next 18 months. At the closing of the proposed investments, Strides would have a controlling stake in Stelis with $75 million investments in the latter.

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