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Orchid to line up new drugs

K. T. Jagannathan

CHENNAI: With assets, products, processes and marketing arrangements in place, Orchid Chemicals and Pharmaceuticals is readying for a slew of product launches in regulated markets post-patent expiry over the next three years that will see a substantial addition to its sales number and cash register. From a mono-therapeutic company concentrated in cephalosporin APIs (active pharmaceutical ingredients), Orchid has, in the past few years, invested heavily into production of other penicillin-based antibiotics, carbapenems and non-antibiotics. “Investments in asset creation have been completed, the processes are in place, all our plants are approved and marketing tie-ups have been firmed up,” said K. Raghavendra Rao, Managing Director.

In an interview to The Hindu, he said with some ‘big ticket items’ going off patent progressively from this year, Orchid was advantageously positioned to gain early inroads by training its focus on regulated markets in t he U.S., Europe and Japan. Mr. Rao said Orchid had just launched Cefepime, a cephalosporin-based antibiotic, in the U.S. market. Orchid is now the lone generic producer of this antibiotic. The patent for the base molecule for this product expired in March this year. “Base patent expiry is good enough for us to launch a product now.” The company is also set to launch another product in this category, Cefdinir, the patent for which expired recently.

“This is a $1 billion product.” Three players have already entered this product space and Orchid will be the fourth.

Mr. Rao was confident that Orchid would get the USFDA nod for the combination product — Tazobactam and Piperacillin — a penicillin-based injectible antibiotic.

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