Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has signed a collaboration agreement with US-based Forest Laboratories for development of novel compounds to treat chronic inflammatory conditions including pain.
The Mumbai-based firm is currently working on some novel compounds, which are in the pre-clinical stage.
As per the deal, Forest will pay $6 million as upfront payment to Glenmark and provide an additional $3 million to support the next stage of activities. More payments would be due to Glenmark next fiscal for supporting activities related to advancement of the programme.
Forest has an exclusive option to obtain rights to the programme post completion of the phase I clinical trials.
The collaboration will be managed by a joint development committee with equal representation from both firms.
Glenn Saldanha, chairman and MD of Glenmark, termed the deal “as an effort that reinforces the firm’s strategy of partnering to launch innovative technologies”.
An industry veteran, however, said the partnership is further proof of Indian pharma’s dependence on multinationals for taking its novel programmes forward. “Work on a novel compound means investing at least $800 million and implies a high risk of failure. No Indian firm, however big, can go solo in bringing a novel compound to the market. It will have to partner with MNCs who have the financial muscle to carry forward the clinical trials.”
According to Ajit Mahadevan, partner, Ernst & Young, alliances of this kind will happen more frequently between Indian and MNC drugmakers.
“The pipelines of MNCs are drying out. So if there are novel compounds that Indian players are working on, the MNCs will try and make an entry,” said the industry veteran.
In a statement, Marco Taglietti, senior vice-president, R&D, at Forest, said the firm will continue to look for ways to expand its pipeline including collaborations “to secure access to novel products.”