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Aventis to ramp up operations in India

By BS Reporter in Mumbai
May 05, 2008 18:51 IST
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Aventis Pharma, the Indian arm of sanofi-aventis, the world's third largest drug company, is planning to ramp up its domestic operations with acquisition of brands and make India a major hub for its research and development and manufacturing activities.

"Our top executives from the Paris headquarters have committed significant investments in India. It is difficult to quantify how much investment will come here in the coming years but it will be need based," said Shailesh Ayyangar, managing director, Aventis Pharma, on the sidelines of the launch of SoloStar, its disposable pen for the administration of insulin.

At present, sanofi-aventis has two large manufacturing facilities, one at Ankleswar for active pharmaceutical ingredients and the other in Goa for making tablets.

Manufacture of vaccines and other products from India will be another area of focus for the euro 28-billion Paris-based drug maker.

At present, Aventis Pharma exports products worth more than Rs 200 crore (Rs 2 billion) from India, including branded paracetamol and sanofi's metabolic drug Daonil. Rabipur, its anti-rabies vaccine, is a market leader in India with sales in excess of Rs 62 crore (Rs 620 million), contributing 16 per cent to the revenues.

"The company is also looking at launching line extensions or upgrades of existing drugs, combination drugs, anti-diabetes, central nervous system and oncology products," Ayyangar said.

sanofi-aventis is also eyeing the emerging clinical trials space in India. It has already set up a clinical research unit employing over 40 people, which will undergo major expansion in future.

sanofi-aventis currently conducts 12 clinical trials in India, as part of its global trials. It has 123 compounds under various stages of development, including 48 projects in the second and third phase of human clinical trials.

Ayyangar said the company was looking at brand acquisitions to boost its presence in rural areas and tier II cities in the cardio-vascular and anti-infective segment, besides some others.

Aventis Pharma owns some of the major domestic drug brands, such as cardio-vascular drug Cardace (Rs 87.9 crore per annum) and Clexane, popular analgesics Combiflam and Novalgin, a cough syrup, and respiratory drug Allegra.

sanofi-aventis launched its long acting insulin, Lantus, in India a few years ago, and the product currently commands about 7 per cent of the Rs 400 crore (Rs 4 billion) market and is growing more than 80 per cent every year.

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BS Reporter in Mumbai
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