Glenmark's Unique Indian Approach to successful NCE Research

article written by: Mahesh Sundar
References: Included

Glenmark is probably one of the most successful Indian pharma companies with respect to innovative new drug research. Probably, the only other Indian company still actively pursuing NCE-based research is Piramal Healthcare. However, the difference with Glenmark is that, they have managed to earn revenues as well during the process.

Indian Companies in NCE Research

During the last decade, Dr. Reddy’s, Piramal, & Sun Pharma, along with Glenmark were among the only Indian companies truly investing into discovery-based research for NCEs. This was at a time when globally, the Big Pharma Multinational giants were facing a rapidly drying-up pipeline and were forced to rationalise on the spending for new drugs.

However, since then, DRL were forced to rationalise on their R&D approach when their molecules failed in advanced stages of development. The much hyped “Balaglitazone” from DRL had no takers. DRL since then have switched focus & have targeted revenues from generic sales from international markets. On the other hand Sun Pharma have focussed more on differentiated generic products rather than NCE research.

The Piramals in contrast have huge cash reserves which they plan to utilise into NCE research and recently announced the demerger of their R&D arm with the parent company.

Glenmark, however, have adopted an approach of offering promising new molecules in outlicencing deals and earn milestone payments as the molecule passes each development stage. The approach not only reduces risk, it also generates a generous cash flow.

Over the years, Glenmark, via its Generic arm has also expanded aggressively into Latam, US & EU and now also has the power to launch their own research product, if commercialised successfully, rather than out licensing. Their success with Crofelemer, which is their first marketing foray with an NCE (or rather the 1st such entry by any Indian company) remains to be seen. If successful, Glenmark may also look to their own marketing capabilities for NCEs in the future.


Glenmark’s Successes with NCE Outlicenses:

The recent development is the discovery of a new monoclonal antibody that promises treatment for patients suffering from immune pathologies including autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. This latest discovery is the latest in a series of several research successes that Glenmark has had.

List of Glenmark’s Outlicensing Successes:

Unlike DRL & Piramal, both of whom began NCE research with a view to market the products themselves, Glenmark adopted a very different approach which over the past years has proved to be less risky while also generating a healthy cash & revenue flow into the company.

By January 2013, Glenmark already had $ 206 Million from NCE out-licensing deals

  • Oglemilast - $190 Million deal with Forest for US rights & $53 Million deal with Teijin Pharma for Japanese rights
  • Melogliptin – Deal with Merck KGaA for $250 Million (later molecule returned back to Glenmark)
  • New Class of Painkiller drugs (TRPV1 antagonist Molecules) – Licenced out to Eli Lilly (upfront payment of $45 Million)
  • mPGES-1 Inhibitors: Deal with Forest labs; received $9 Million in milestone payments

Outlicenced Biologics:

Glenmark proved their NCE research mettle, by outlicensing their 1st biologic molecule as well. Glenmark’s deal with Sanofi Aventis was the first ever deal for a biologic molecule, developed in India

Sanofi Aventis: Outlicenced a biologic molecule for autoimmune disorders. The deal was worth a potential of $ 613Million.