Dr Reddy's Laboratories Limited aims to increase the R&D spend on its three major research programmes, including the reverse cholesterol transport area, in a bid to come out with pathbreaking molecules in the next 7-10 years.
"I have asked the company CEO, G V Prasad, to provide $100 million more for drug research. It is up to him to decide," K Anji Reddy, chairman, DRL, said, adding, "But we intend to scale it up gradually."
Reddy wants the company to invest $100 million in drug discovery every year apart from the amount earmarked for the purpose.
The company's expenditure on drug research in the half-year ended September 2007 stood at $44 million and an equal amount is expected to be spent in the remaining half year.
Reddy said the increase in expenditure on drug research was not an issue when revenues and profits were growing at a faster pace. He was speaking on the theme, 'innovation and research as the growth engine', at the TiE-ISB Connect-2007 in Hyderabad on Thursday.
The chairman's inclination to raise more resources for drug research comes at a time when the company is seeing the early signs of success in all the three tracks of drug research currently underway at its four laboratories including the one at Atlanta in the US.
In the RCT area, PF12ER, a molecule which is expected to reduce the risk of heart diseases, is entering phase one trials in the next couple of months, according to Reddy. The company has already applied for patent for drug-gata 1 activation through its Atlanta laboratory in the US.
In another breakthrough, a European company in its recent animal trials found the DRS 15725 in 50 mg dosage to be as effective as biologic drug Ambro, which is used in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. "While the Ambro is sold at $50,000 for one shot, this smaller molecule can be sold at $1.5 to $2.5 a tablet," he said.
He also claimed the frontrunner status for his company in the AMPK activation research area, where the molecule that causes overexpression of the enzyme concerned is expected to provide effective anti-ageing and anti-diabetic solutions.
Besides, the company hopes to launch Balaglitazone, a drug used in diabetes management, in 2010-11. Reddy hopes it to be the country's first drug molecule to enter the market. It is considered as a better drug than two similar compounds, which command $2 billion business at present.
Balaglitazone is being co-developed with Danish company Rheosciences, which has offered close to $60 million to Dr Reddy's for exclusive rights over the drug in the US and China markets.
The company is planning to launch the modified version of red heart pill, used in the treatment of heart ailments, in India in a year.
Though the drug carries a huge business potential, the company does not want to apply for a patent. "We want it to be a WHO drug and do not intend for a patent," he said.
"Providing affordable medicines to people has always been our priority. By introducing drugs at affordable prices, I forced the Indian industry not to resort to profiteering," Reddy pointed out.