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Eli Lilly plans expansion, looks to grow presence in Indian market

Sohini Das & Aneesh Phadnis/Mumbai 11 Oct 18 | 05:30 AM

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Eli Lilly will bring its pipeline of oncology and diabetes drugs to India as it looks to grow its presence in the market. The US-headquartered drug maker which has been relying on partnerships to sell its drugs in India, on Wednesday launched its patented rheumatoid arthritis drug Olumiant that they plan to market on their own.

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In the last three years, it has launched eight products while in the last 22 years of its presence in the country before that it launched 10 products (molecules and molecule variants).

The US-headquartered company has a pipeline of seven molecules that are currently in phase III clinical development and around ten are in phase II clinical testing. Eli plans to bring some of its molecules from the global pipeline to India, especially in the oncology and diabetes space. 

Currently, diabetes is the largest therapy segment for Eli in India. Data from AIOCD AWACS showed that Eli had clocked a 51.4 per cent growth in sales value over the last one year (MAT September 2018). This data, however, does not include the revenue from partnerships.  Luca Visini, managing director of Eli Lilly and Company, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh said that, “We want to launch drugs in any country as soon as we can." 

We evaluate the market conditions and also see whether the partnership route works to bring in a new drug. We are regularly filing to bring in new drugs.

He added that despite several options available for rheumatoid arthritis (an auto-immune disorder that leads to inflammation and progressive destruction of joints), there is still an unmet need. Around 4 - 5 million people in India have rheumatoid arthritis. 

In India, Eli sells many of its drugs through partnerships with local drug firms who have greater market access. For example, it has entered into a partnership with Cipla earlier this year to market Basglar (insulin glargine injection). Earlier this month, it forged a partnership with Lupin to market Aplevant, diabetes injection.

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