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Lupin inks pact with Allergan to market kids' drugs

Our Bureau

Mumbai , March 29

THE paediatric segment will be the focus for the Mumbai-based Lupin Ltd as it intensifies its efforts in the branded generic drugs segment in the US.

Announcing its second tie-up in the paediatric segment in a little more than a month, Lupin on Monday said that it had entered into a marketing alliance with Allergan Inc to market the paediatric version of Zymar, a solution for conjunctivitis in children.

The alliance has been inked between Lupin's wholly owned subsidiary, Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc and Allergan.

While Lupin would market the paediatric version of Zymar in the US through its 50-odd field-force, Allergan would promote the same drug for adults, Dr Kamal Sharma, Managing Director, told Business Line. Zymar was launched by Allergan in 2003.

Late last month, Lupin had licensed the Suprax trademark from Wyeth, which had been marketing the drug till March 2003.

Also targeting the paediatric segment, Suprax is the brand name for a suspension form of the antibiotic, cefixime.

Suprax is slated for relaunch in the US market under the Lupin label in April this year.

Dr Sharma said that Lupin had done due diligence with regard to the segment to focus on before it entered the branded generics market.

"In the US, as in India, most pharma companies have drugs for adults and an extension for children. There are some companies that look at the children's segment a little more. But we saw that as a gap in the market. The total opportunity that exists in this segment is estimated to be about $8 billion."

He added that the company was looking to "fortify its portfolio" with products from its own research and development department, besides through alliances.

"Both the products that we are promoting in the paediatrics segment are for infection-led diseases. The benefits of focusing on one segment are that doctor detailing can be improved and the field-force can be utilised economically."

Ms Vinita Gupta, President, Lupin Pharmaceuticals Inc, said that the two products being promoted by the company in the branded generics segment have complementary indications.

"This is a part of our strategy to create a position in the paediatric market segment in the US."

On the financial returns that the alliance would bring to the Rs 1,120-crore Lupin, Dr Sharma said that the two branded generic products "would reflect handsomely" on the company's performance.

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