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Actis plans research arm, multiple JVs
C H Unnikrishnan in Mumbai
 
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October 24, 2005 11:59 IST

US-based biopharmaceutical company Actis Biologics Inc is setting up its wholly owned subsidiary in India in a move to make the country a hub for its clinical research and developmental activities.

The company is also in talks with four Indian majors to float specific joint venture projects to work on certain identified lead molecules.

The subsidiary would be responsible for entire Asia activities of Actis Biologics Inc. P N Venugopalan, former director of Hoechst Marrion Roussel and UB Pharmaceuticals would soon take charge of Actis Biologics India, the 100 per cent subsidiary of Actis. The company is looking for office and lab space in Mumbai.

Actis chairman and CEO Sanjeev Saxena said it would float multiple joint venture projects in partnership with big pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in India.

The company's core focus was on novel targets for diseases such as cancer and cardiovascular disease that offer real opportunities in the global biopharmaceutical market, he added.

"We have already established academic and industry collaborations with US and Indian leaders in the fields of science and medicine and also to manage them proactively to ensure rapid, efficient progression from target discovery through product development to the market.

"The company's approach involves bringing creativity and fresh thinking to research and development, while at the same time maintaining careful, consistent attention to the details of financial and project management," Saxena said.

Actis Biologics Inc, which was founded by Sanjay Saxena, an NRI, and Dave Toman, a molecular biologist and former scientist of Aventis [Get Quote] as well as MD Anderson, has 40 patents to its name.

Actis aims to utilise its international relationships to setup strategic alliances and joint ventures with companies to further strengthen R&D, clinical trials, manufacturing and marketing of its products.

The company is mainly targeting cancer segment where the global cost is estimated about $189 billion. Actis has already licensed a lead product technology for this segment - Angiozyme from Sirna therapeutics and Chiron. The company will initially focus on phase IIb clinical development of products derived from Angiozyme technology. These products have $15 billion market in oncology.

"Our business model is to discover new molecules through collaborations and internal research or to in-license promising targets, then add value to the targets by accelerating the progression through the biopharmaceutical product life cycle while reducing costs by a significant margin. As part of our commitment to building corporate value, we are also committed to building an intellectual property portfolio that emphasises broad, enabling platform technologies and discoveries," Saxena added.

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