New Delhi December 28, 2013:
The Government’s drug price control order may have impacted drug-makers’ profitability, but Chennai-based Arvind Remedies Ltd is unfazed.

A new drug to combat Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases is in the pipeline, says B. Arvind Shah, Managing Director and CEO.

In an interview with Business Line, Shah says the company is keeping its sight on the US horizon for its branded generics drugs. The Rs 250-crore factory near Chennai will begin exporting in three years, he adds. Edited excerpts:

How did the price control measure affect your profitability?

Our profitability took a hit because many products came under the essential medicines list.

But with affordability, comes more sales, evident in the slow turnaround seen in November sales.

We are also coming up with new drugs to offset the impact. Our first step is the new drug for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.

Phase-III clinical trials have yielded positive results.

What is the specialty of this drug?

It comes from a botanical source, meaning minimal side-effects. It can slow ageing to an extent, and help manage age-related neurodegenerative changes.

On December 21, Banaras Hindu University, with whom we tied up for this product, assigned the patent right to us for manufacturing and marketing this product.

In another six months, we will apply for regulatory approvals, and the product may be ready for commercial production after one year.

What kind of competition will this drug face in the market?

There are allopathic drugs that cater to Parkinson’s patients. But side effects are a given in such drugs. We plan to extend this invention to other chronic illnesses also, but that will take some time.

How will the US entry change the revenue mix for the company?

Over 90 per cent of our revenue is from the domestic market. Our export destinations are Asian and West Asian nations.

The US presents us with excellent opportunities – in the next five years, about $93 billion worth of patents will die out.

The US Food and Drug Administration has been tightening regulations over the last two years: the application fee for a drug has tripled, and two more levels have been added to the stability studies conducted on the drugs.

Since we have developed capabilities that match US standards, we may have an edge over peers.

Our focus area is drug formulations, something many Chinese companies do not have expertise on.Business line


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