Our Bureau

Hyderabad, Jan. 23

SHANTHA Biotechnics Ltd has announced the national launch of its fourth r-DNA product recombinant DNA Erythropoietin (EPO) in pre-filled syringes form under the brand `Shanpoietin'.

The Secretary of Department of Biotechnology, Dr M.K. Bhan, unveiled the product at the second Asian Chapter Meeting of International Society of Peritoneal Dialysis, attended by around 1,200 nephrologists from across the globe, here on Sunday.

Addressing a press conference on the eve, the Shantha Biotech Managing Director, Mr Varaprasad Reddy, said the country has been witnessing over 1.5 lakh new cases of chronic renal failure every year, with half of these patients requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation.

Anaemia has been a major problem due to EPO deficiency in most of these cases. In such a situation, erythropoietin is the mainstay for treatment of anaemia and improves quality of life, he said.

Though a number of imported EPO brands were currently available in the country, only about 10 per cent of CRF patients have access to world-class EPO therapy, Mr Reddy said. "Hence, there is a need for an indigenous EPO brand of international quality that is easily available and produced keeping in mind the highest levels of efficacy and patient safety," he said.

According to Mr Reddy, the company has spent over Rs 20 crore on five years of research and development for the product. Stating that the Indian EPO market is currently estimated at around Rs 75 crore with 70 per cent of imported drugs, he said the company expects to record sales of Rs 10 crore a year on the product.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated January 24, 2005)
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