Updated on 13 June 2013
Furthermore, it is clear that the mandate of the government is to provide affordable medicines to the greater public. Starting with the compulsory licensing of Bayer's Nexavar to NatcoPharma Limited at a fraction of the original price, there seems to be interest in providing ‘access' to drugs. This has proved conducive to collaborative ventures which rely on integrated global organization and effective collaboration.
Firms such as Strides Arcolab, Emcure Pharmaceuticals and MSD Pharmaceuticals have inked either technology or marketing deals with Gilead, Roche and Merck respectively. Bayer and Cadila Healthcare plan to enter into a licensing agreement as well, as reported in Indian media.
So would we be seeing more of a new ‘collaborative commercialization'?
Yes, the number of collaborations has increased and has been strong business drivers and do show promising signs of further increase. The nature of these collaborations would be interesting. These collaborations tend to be more towards manufacturing and marketing deals between multinationals and Indian firms.
Given the triumvirate of product patent changes, challenges for Indian firms to switch to drug discovery and precious downstream capabilities, we would expect to see more multinational- domestic tie-ups for voluntary licensing deals where the multinational technology know-how is transferred for efficient manufacturing and extensive marketing by Indian firms. This would work in two ways - one the Indian firms who have not yet set sight on R&D can still utilize their manufacturing and marketing capability for new drugs to enter the market and two- multinational firms do not need to grapple with the fear of compulsory licensing which could remove their patent protection early on.
It would be of interest to see what the patent changes in India means as far as collaborations and licensing goes. India presents a conundrum with an untapped market for diseases such as HIV/AIDS, diabetes, heart disease and so on with most of the population unable to afford costly medications. These collaborations might mean a working solution to both multinational and domestic pharmaceutical firm growth drivers by building bridges to create a sustainable business model.