Cos. to reduce the cost of human insulin and cancer drugs

Medicine Injection drug vaccine
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Biocon Biologics is focusing on innovative business models to reduce the cost of human insulin and cancer drugs, as it looks to build a pipeline of 28 biosimilars across global markets, the company’s chief executive said.

The Biocon subsidiary will chart a path that ensures high volumes and lowcosts, unlike competitors, Christiane Hamacher, chief executive of Biocon Biologics told ET.

“We want to be the Amazon of biotech pharma going beyond the product. You don’t have to do ecommerce, but we want to be as innovative and as disruptive as Amazon was. We want to transform healthcare,” Hamachersaid.

Innovative technology will enable this model, but for recombinant human insulin (rh-insulin) direct government procurement in global markets will bring down costs, she said.

The company plans to create an ecosystem where patients not only have access to the right medicine, but also gets the right care without always reaching a hospital.

The company said it does not want to emulate any particular model, but the idea of ensuring universal access to diabetes medicine or rh-insulin comes from the fact that even after 100 years of the patent being written off many do not have access, she said.

Its pegfilgrastim biosimilar for cancer treatment was commercialised in the United States in the previous financial year. So far, three of itsbiosimilars have been commercialised globally.

Hamacher, who has been at the helm at Biocon Biologics for the past nine months, said the mantra of transforming healthcare is at the centre of its growth strategy.

The company is chasing a revenue target of $1 billion in financial year 2021-22. Last fiscal year, it crossed $200 million in revenue.

In September, Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said at the UNAIDS Health Innovation Exchange in New York that the company would make its rh-insulin available at less than 10 cents per day in low- and middle-income countries, which contribute to 80% of the global diabetes burden.

Its current US retail list price is more than $5 per day or more.
Hamacher said the cost of treatment for diabetic patients is a burden and that is a major crisis across not only low-income countries,but also adeveloped nation like the United States.

“I think what shows best our strategy of providing rh-insulin for less than 10 cents is we are clearly laying out the direct procurement model,” she said, adding that “diabetes is a major topic and there are big markets, like Australia, Latin America, Brazil and Mexico. So, we are covering really top markets in the world.”