Biocon, India's largest biotech company, on Saturday announced the commercialisation of a drug to treat Psoriasis, a chronic skin disease that affects upto 2 per cent of India's population.
The drug, called ALZUMAb, will be 50 per cent cheaper than existing drugs marketed by multinationals in its class. It will retail at Rs 7,950 a vial.
Biocon said the drug was a "Novel Biologic" - no drug, produced by culturing a protein, has ever succeeded in treating Psoriasis in a way the company says it has. The drug targets and regulates CD6, a human protein, and prevents it from activating certain T-Cells of the human body that plays a role in diseases such as Psoriasis.
Biocon Chairperson and Managing Director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said the drug was a significant innovation. It could potentially enhance a patient's quality of life because of its efficacy, less aggressive dosing regimen and affordability.
"The drug is a first-in-class globally. We started development 10 years ago. It is not easy to develop Novel Biologics," she said during a press conference.
The company said the drug can make a difference to a much larger patient population across the world. While it has secured marketing approval from the Drugs Controller General of India, the company is still talking to regulators in advanced markets.
Shaw added that the drug has also demonstrated preclinical and clinical evidence of treating other diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Biocon spends over 10 per cent of its revenues in Research and Development every year, one of the highest by any Indian company. The company had revenues of Rs 2,538 Crore in 2012/13.
The company's stock ended 6.24 per cent up at Rs 336.20 on the Bombay Stock Exchange on Thursday. The BSE Sensex ended the day at 18,789.34, up less than a percentage point.