Eli Lilly, Boehringer Ingelheim Launch Oral Diabetes Drug in India
06/14/2012| 09:41am US/Eastern
--Eli Lilly, Boehringer Ingelheim to launch three more drugs in India under alliance
--New drugs to be launched in India after two to three years
--Lilly-Boehringer Ingelheim alliance to price products lower in India than in the West
(Recasts the first paragraph, adds comments from India executives of Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH and Eli Lilly in 7th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 13th paragraphs)
By Rumman Ahmed
BANGALORE--Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH and Eli Lilly & Co. (>> Eli Lilly & Co.) Thursday started selling a new diabetes treatment, linagliptin, in India and said they plan to launch three more products under a global alliance between the two drug makers.
U.S.-based Eli Lilly and Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim had in January 2011 entered into an alliance on diabetes and in October expanded their partnership to India to jointly promote a portfolio of drugs that are either in late-stage development or on the market.
India's growing middle-class population is increasingly falling prey to lifestyle diseases like diabetes. An estimated 61 million people, or close to one-sixth of all adults with diabetes worldwide, live in India, according to the International Diabetes Federation.
The huge potential in India is spurring foreign drug companies to quickly bring their newly discovered drugs to the South Asian nation.
Linagliptin, sold in the U.S. as Tradjenta, was approved by U.S. regulators in May 2011 to be used along with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. It has also been approved for sale in the European Union and Japan.
Linagliptin is the second diabetes drug to be introduced by the alliance in India, after Humalog--Lilly's injectable insulin drug.
Boehringer Ingelheim India Managing Director Sharad Tyagi said the alliance plans to launch three more drugs, which are under development, in India after two to three years.
Eli Lilly has a pact also with Indian drug maker Lupin Ltd. (500257.BY) for selling the U.S. company's Huminsulin range of diabetes treatment products in India and Nepal.
Lilly India Managing Director Melt van der Spuy said the two alliances will help it reach more patients across the country.
While Lupin will distribute Lilly's existing diabetes products, the alliance with Boehringer Ingelheim will sell the newer products that will emerge from the company's research pipeline, he added.
Mr. van der Spuy said that the alliance is aiming for a market share of more than 20% in the oral diabetes drugs segment and about 35%-40% in the injectable segment. He didn't specify a time period.
Despite the huge potential market in India--drug sales are expected by some estimates to reach $17.5 billion by 2014 from $12 billion--government intervention in matters like drug pricing makes investments in the country a risky bet for foreign producers.
Mr. Tyagi of Boehringer Ingelheim said that the alliance will price its products in India lower than in the West to ensure affordability.
Write to Rumman Ahmed at firstname.lastname@example.org