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What are biosimilars and why are pharma companies so bullish on them?

What are biosimilars and why are pharma companies so bullish on them?

Biosimilars, a pre-defined moonshot sector for the Indian Biopharma industry, is expected to grow over 30 per cent and above by 2047, but needs governmental reforms to burgeon, a recent Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) report said.

Pharmaceutical companies are eyeing biosimilar businesses for healthy growth.  A Biosimilar is an identical copy of an original drug (also known as a biologic) manufactured by a different company. Biologics are made using biological products such as blood and proteins or living organisms such as viruses or bacteria. Biologics are used to prevent, treat or cure several medical conditions.

Biosimilars -- a pre-defined moonshot sector for the Indian Biopharma industry is expected to grow over 30 per cent and above by 2047 but need governmental reforms to burgeon, a recent Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) report said.

Noted pharma companies such as Cipla have shown interest in biosimilar drugs. “On the innovation front, we are actively working on newer constructs like mRNA, stem cells, and biosimilars,” said Umang Vohra, Managing Director and Global CEO of Cipla.

Pharma analysts have said that companies are aiming to target their R&D efforts on distinct sectors such as biosimilars.

According to the India Bioeconomy report 2022 by the department of biotechnology, by 2025 BioPharma sector is expected to grow nearly 1.4 times to nearly $63 billion from $45 billion in 2022. It further said that the therapeutics segment is likely to create a BioEconomy of $15 billion from recombinant and biosimilar products.

“India-made biosimilars are getting accepted in developed markets like the USA and we can expect more nations to source cost-effective biosimilars in many disease categories as these global quality medical products demonstrate their efficacy and popularity in foreign countries,” the Bioeconomy report 2022 said.

Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, the main distributor of the much-talked-about Russian Covid vaccine Sputnik, is now focusing on its core businesses of APIs or active pharmaceutical ingredients (a biologically active constituent of a drug), generics, branded generics, biosimilars, and over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.

These constitute the company’s near-term growth drivers or what it calls its “Horizon 1” of growth. It has a plan for long-term growth (Horizon 2) as well. “As the pharmaceutical landscape evolves, we see intense competition in traditional generics, the disruption brought on by new players and new business models, and demand for holistic healthcare solutions,” said a spokesperson, Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.