Sun Pharma buys skin cancer drug Odomzo for $175 mn from Novartis

Topics Sun Pharma

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Sun Pharmaceutical Industries has acquired skin cancer drug Odomzo from Swiss giant Novartis for $175 million (nearly Rs 1,200 crore) as it looks to grow its speciality drug portfolio.


The transaction gives Sun Pharma its first branded oncology product. Odomzo (molecule name Sonidegib) has been approved for sale in 30 countries, including in Europe, America and Australia. The global market for cancer drugs is over $100 billion and the US is the single largest market.


Beside the upfront payment of $175 mn, said Sun, there would be additional milestone payments.


Novartis acquired GSK’s entire oncology portfolio last year in a multi-billion dollar deal. So, sale of this skin cancer drug has came as a surprise to analysts tracking the sector. “Odomzo gives us an opportunity to meaningfully expand our already established branded dermatology business and support our expansion into branded oncology with a launched brand,” said Kirti Ganorkar, global head of business development at Sun Pharma.


Dermatology and ophthalmics have been identified as key therapy segments by the Sun management as it ramps up its speciality business.


“Our initiatives in this segment cover the entire value chain, from in-licensing early-to-late stage clinical candidates, as well as getting access to on-market patented products,” said Sun’s managing director, Dilip Shanghvi, in his letter to shareholders in the 2015-16 annual report.  The company has indicated that building a speciality drug pipeline  might see a short-term impact on its profitability. It will also increase the spending  on research and development to  around nine per cent of sales in FY16.


Odomzo was approved by the US drug regulator in July 2015. It is indicated for the treatment of adult patients with locally advanced basal cell carcinoma.

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