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Tuesday, Feb 26, 2002

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Lupin jumps on hopes of USFDA approval

Aparna Krishnan

MUMBAI, Feb. 25

THE share price of Lupin Ltd has been surging ahead on expectations that its US partner, Apotex, may get the US Food and Administration (USFDA) approval for it anti-infective drug `cefuroxime axetil'. Lupin has an arrangement with Apotex to supply bulk actives of the drug.

The Lupin stock has gained 20 per cent during the past one week since it crossed the Rs 100-mark on February 15. Today, the stock gained 6.04 per cent on the BSE to close at Rs 130.70 with 9.4 lakh shares being traded. On the NSE, it closed at Rs 130.85, up 6.64 per cent with 12.56 lakh shares being traded.

Dealers say that the US firm could get approval within the next few weeks for the drug. ``Cefuroxime Axetil has a big market of over $350 million. With the arrangement in place, Lupin seems to have got a significant edge over other competitors for this generic,'' said a dealer.

Ranbaxy Laboratories recently got the approval for manufacturing and marketing the drug from the USFDA. Ranbaxy is expected to amass revenues of about Rs 150 crore with this approval.

According to analysts, Lupin is also in the process of exploring other opportunities including marketing alliances with companies in the US. Market sources say that the company is in advanced stages of negotiations with US firms for marketing alliances. ``The company could be wrapping up the deal shortly,'' the source said.

The company also plans to file four to five ANDAs (Abbreviated New Drug Applications) and a new chemical entity every year.

Lupin had recently set up a research and development centre in Pune for an investment of Rs 57 crore. The company also plans to increase its R&D spends to 25 per cent of its turnover in the next fiscal.

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