Natco Pharma Ltd. (NTCPH), an Indian drugmaker backed by billionaire Dilip Shanghvi, expects sales to rise as much as 15 percent in the year ending March 2013 helped by a copy of Bayer AG (BAYN)’s cancer medicine Nexavar.
Natco, based in Hyderabad, expects sales of 5.1 billion rupees ($100 million) this financial year, compared with 4.4 billion rupees in the previous period, Chief Operating Officer Rajeev Nannapaneni said in an interview yesterday.
This month, Natco became the first company in India to get government approval to sell a cheaper copy of a drug that’s still protected by patents. The so-called compulsory license permits Natco to make a version of Nexavar and sell it at a 97 percent discount to Bayer’s price.
Under a World Trade Organization agreement known as Trade- Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, or TRIPS, member countries can use these compulsory licenses to lower the cost of medicines. Governments can grant compulsory licenses to allow a company to make copies or use a patented process without the consent of the patent owner.
Global drugmakers “can’t charge European and U.S. prices in India,” Nannapaneni said. “Multinationals have to relook their model and consider differential pricing.”
Natco expects to earn 250 million rupees in the first year of sales from the copy of Nexavar, which is used for treating advanced stage kidney and liver cancer.
The Indian drugmaker can charge not more than 8,880 rupees for a monthly dose of 120 tablets. The company would have to pay 6 percent of its revenue to Bayer as royalty and supply the drug at no cost to at least 600 needy patients each year, India’s Controller General of Patents Designs and Trademarks said in a statement on its website this month.
Shanghvi is chairman of Indian drugmaker Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (SUNP)
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