Business, Economics and Jobs

Biocon gets approval to sell psoriasis drug in India


Entrepreneur and Biocon Chairman, Kiran Mazumdar Shaw (R) points towards a player while Sudha Murthy, (L), philanthrophist and wife of founder chairman of India's leading software company Infosys, N.R. Narayana Murthy, looks on during the IPL Twenty20 cricket match between Royal Challenger Bangalore and Rajasthan Royals at the M. Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore on April 15, 2012.


Manjunath Kiran

Biocon, an Indian pharmeceutical company, received approval on Tuesday to sell its newest biologic psorisis drug in its home country. 

Itolizumab is a therapy to treat persistent plaque psorisis, and it is the second biologic — a drug that works by implementing a biological process in the body — developed at the company's headquarters in Bangalore, according to the Business Standard. Biocon's facilities are reportedly the largest biotechnology centers in Asia. 

Biocon's first biologic to enter the market was an anti-cancer antibody called BioMab EGFR, the Times of India reported

"We are very excited to receive this marketing authorisation for Itolizumab...which will enable Biocon to introduce this novel, first in class biologic for the treatment of psoriasis patients in India," said Biocon Chairman and Director Kiran Mazumdar Shaw, the Economic Times reported

Shaw added that the company plans to file an investigational new drug application with the US Food and Drug Administration to get clearance to do more human trials of the drug, the Wall Street Journal reported

Psoriasis, an autoimmune skin disease, affects 2%-3% of India's more than 1.2 billion people, Biocon said, adding that the global market for psoriasis treatments is estimated to cross $8 billion by 2016.

"Psoriasis is an incurable disease, but Biocon's entry into the market would give doctors a new arsenal to fight and contain the disease," Dr Ajaykumar Sharma, associate director for the pharma, biotech, and healthcare practice at consulting and research firm Frost & Sullivan, told Times of India. 

The new biologic will be marketed under the brand Alzumab and begin selling it in India in the second half of 2013.