"We hope that our development journey on biosimilars and vaccines will deliver value moving forward. The company is transforming towards innovation within its portfolio while managing its core capabilities that are execution, low cost and higher productivity."
As one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in India, could you introduce Zydus Cadila’s distinguishing features?
Zydus has been strongly focused on generics with the aim of creating access and affordability. The value of the company was driven by our ability to meet both of these two objectives for India and in the global markets. Today, we are one of the top five pharmaceutical companies in India and the sixth largest in the United States by prescription volume. We also boast a research center that conducts end to end research from Preclinical to Phase III and New Drug Application (NDA) approval. Additionally, we have important programs running in hepatology and anemia that have been filed with the FDA for Phase II and other studies. And finally, our first New Chemical Entity (NCE) has gained approval in India and Mexico. In our biologics venture, we bring to market over 20 biosimilars, of which 11 have been commercialized in India and other emerging markets. 11 vaccines are approved for the public and private market and another are eight under development.
Zydus is extending its focus to biosimilars, NCEs and vaccines. What potential for growth do you see in this space?
Over the past 15 to 20 years, we have expanded our focus from small molecule generics to NCEs, biosimilars and vaccines, in addition to a portfolio of eight molecules that are incremental innovations for the U.S. market specifically. In India, we continue to introduce new NCEs and fixed dose combinations that help create patient adherence. Our growth trajectory is governed by innovation and introducing technologies that are difficult to replicate.
Our strategy was to make biosimilars available to India, because many top selling products were never launched in India by the innovator. We saw an opportunity to bring these medications to markets where there is an issue with access or affordability.
India and the U.S. are Zydus’s two main markets, and very different too. How do you adapt the business strategy to the challenges posed by these two countries?
The U.S. provides a strong structure to develop new products because it is a well-regulated and developed market. On the generics side, the market penetration is good, giving us an opportunity to capture market share. The key challenge is the cost of development in new areas such as biosimilars, where the cost burden is passed down to customers through expensive products. On top of that, the expectations from regulators is high, adding to the cost. Once the market accepts biosimilars, the environment will improve for companies.
In India, a key challenge is that our regulation is still in its youth and more approvals are required compared to developed markets. Simplification of the regulation is vital to encourage more innovation.
Could you elaborate on Zydus’ Corporate Social Responsibility initiative called Zydus Srishti?
A large part of Srishti looks into health and education and we conduct state-wide initiatives wherever we have facilities. We also focus on animal health because farm and livestock is very critical and we want to build capabilities in semi-developed areas where our facilities are present. Zydus is also running an oncological hospital, a multi-specialty hospital and a chain of government-partnership hospitals. We invest in primary education, nursing and medical education as well.
What is your vision for Zydus over the next five years?
The next two to three years will be critical for the company with our lead molecule Saroglitazar Lipaglyn that is in Phase II in the U.S., which will be a milestone for the company, given there is no molecule to treat hypertriglyceridemia in Type 2 diabetes currently. If we succeed in this endeavor, it will completely change the trajectory of the company because we will fulfill a largely unmet need in the market. We hope that our development journey on biosimilars and vaccines will deliver value moving forward. The company is transforming towards innovation within its portfolio while managing its core capabilities that are execution, low cost and higher productivity.