Cipla, the largest domestic drug manufacturer, has tied up with the Manipal Group-promoted Stempeutics Research to market stem cell-based therapies.
Cipla will fund Rs 50 crore within the next two years to conduct clinical trials and to further develop two products being worked on by Stempeutics. Cipla will further invest to develop more products and in return will get marketing rights on a transfer pricing basis during commercialisation, said B N Manohar, president, Stempeutics.
Clinical trials, involving human volunteers, are to test drugs in human beings for ensuring safety and efficacy and to detect side effects. Stem cells would be a major branch of medical treatment and would be a standard of cure and practice in the years to come and this would be an ideal supplement for existing medical treatments, said Amar Lulla, joint managing director of Cipla.
“We chose Stempeutics for their strength in developing world-class stem cell products, starting from basic research, pre-clinical studies, large scale upscaling and conducting multi centric clinical studies as per international standards,” he said.
Six years ago, Cipla had entered into a similar agreement with Bangalore-based Avesthagen to access its bio-pharmaceutical products under development. “In the last four-five years, we invested about Rs 65 crore and require another Rs 50 crore for conducting clinical trials and registrations in India and abroad,” said Manohar for Stempeutics. “The first product is likely to reach the market by 2013.”
The expected current stem cell therapy market in India is about $540 million (Rs 2,395 crore) and will grow rapidly, said Jaideep Gogtay, medical director, Cipla. Stempeutics is currently developing eight stem cell based therapies. Of this, two products are under clinical trial in India and another two in Malaysia.