LITHA Healthcare, the fourth-largest pharmaceutical company on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), on Monday announced a strategic tie-up with Natco Pharma, a Hyderabad-based generic pharmaceutical manufacturer.
The Business Standard understands the agreement with Natco is only one of a handful of similar agreements that Litha is mulling. Market sources suggest Litha is set to sign with other Indian pharma companies in the next few months.
The Natco agreement will see Litha’s new generics business marketing a range of products developed and manufactured by the Indian company in South Africa and neighbouring states.
CEO Selwyn Kahanovitz said the Natco agreement would ensure Litha had access to a multitude of pharmaceutical dossiers that would hopefully be brought to market in 2014. He said it was difficult to assess the potential impact on the company's generics division, which is currently its smallest division with turnover of $14 million (Rand 100 million). "It’s going to add considerable scale; it will be material," he said.
The Natco agreement is the second-major generics link-up between Indian and SA pharmaceutical companies. Indian pharma giant Cipla already enjoys a very successful relationship with Cipla Medpro, the third-largest pharmaceutical company on the JSE.
Kahanovitz said the Natco agreement enhanced Litha’s strategy to add value and breadth to its generic pharmaceutical pipeline. "It demonstrates our commitment to an aggressive growth strategy to become a major provider of generic medicines in SA," he said.