Cipla is looking at the obesity and weight-loss drugs category, either on its own or in partnership, its top management said.

The company has an existing partnership with American company Eli Lilly, with whom it is culturally aligned, said Umang Vohra, Cipla Managing Director and Global Chief Executive Officer, adding that the company was “always open to a partnership” tobring in its diabetes product that has since gained popularity in the obesity and weight-loss segments, as well. Cipla has a tie-up with Lilly for its insulins.

“Obesity is a big identified area for us,” Vohra said adding that they were working on a drug launch in India, with an eye on when the patent expires on the innovator products. The popularity of Eli Lilly’s Mounjaro/ Zepbound brands (tirzepatide ) and Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy / Ozempic (semaglutide) have resulted in global supply pressure on the products.

Novo’s oral semaglutide is available in India, and both multinationals are reportedly interested in bringing these products in India too. Other Indian companies are also in the arena. Vohra was speaking to the media, outlining plans for the year ahead, after the company announced its financial performance for the fourth quarter (Q4) and year ended, ended March 31, 2024.

Bullish on India

As companies look beyond the national elections , and policies thereafter from the incoming Government, Vohra said, the new codes and regulations that have been brought in, were good for the market, as it created a competitive intensity that stayed uniform through the year and between companies. As the new government begins and unveils its new budget, and possibly expand the number of people who would be covered by the Government’s healthcare insurance – that would have a follow through on the India formulations market, Vohra told businessline, adding that they were “very bullish on the India story over the next 5 to 7 years.”

Financial performance

Cipla clocked a 10 per cent growth in its income from operations at ₹6,163 crore in Q4 of FY24 compared to ₹5,602 crore in the corresponding period last year. It’s profit after tax was up 79 per cent in the quarter, at ₹939 crore, compared to ₹524 crore in the same period last year.

For the financial year ended March 31, 2024, Cipla’s revenues clocked a 14 per cent growth at ₹25,455 crore, compared to ₹22,334 crore last year.

Vohra pointed out that FY24 revenues crossed the threshold of ₹25,000 crore, whereas operating margins significantly improved to cross ₹6,000 crore for the first time, growing at 14 per cent on topline and 26 per cent on profitability year-on-year. “This was backed by One-India (business) revenue breaching ₹10,000 crore, North America revenue surpassing $900 million and South Africa reaching top spot in prescription market, with all three businesses growing in double digits over last year with improved profitability,” he said. In the current financial year, India, the US and SA are expected to grow ahead of the market, he added.