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      DRL's R&D spend at 15% of net sales in '05

      Posted AtThe Economic Times

      Drug companies are pouring funds into R&D both in India and abroad. Ranbaxy, Cipla, Dr Reddy's Laboratories, Nicholas Piramal and Sun Pharma's research and development expenses have increased from Rs 585 crore in FY04 to Rs 859 crore in FY05, a 47% increase in a single year.

      Growth in R&D is where major differences emerge. GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer's R&D expenses have not increased much in FY04, though Merck's has increased significantly. In contrast, Indian companies' R&D expenses have increased anywhere between 40% and 90%.

      Then again, not all companies are spending a similar share of sales on research. While Dr Reddy's Laboratories' R&D expenses amounted to 14.7% of its net sales in FY05, Nicholas Piramal and Cipla still spend less than 5% of their net sales on research.

      Along with current R&D expenses, Indian companies have also been spending significant amounts on R&D capital expenditure.

      With the setting up of modern facilities, capital expenditure on R&D has steadily increased over the past two years, adding up to Rs 182 crore for the top five Indian pharma companies for FY05. Ranbaxy has notably spent up to Rs 130 crore on capital expenditure on R&D over the past three years.

      In terms of research areas, MNCs and domestic companies have differing focal points. MNCs mainly work on the central nervous system, internal medicine, vaccines, oncology and metabolic disorders. Sanofi-Aventis and GlaxoSmithKline are respectively developing 26 and 32 new drugs for the central nervous system, 25 and 24 for internal medicine, and 18 and 20 new vaccines.

      As for Indian companies, their research is largely centred around metabolic and cardiovascular, infectious, urology, oncology and finally respiratory diseases. New Drug Delivery System (NDDS), generic products and contract research areas like developing non-infringing processes in the area of Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients (APIs) manufacture for MNCs, are today key areas for the Indian pharmaceutical industry.

      September 21, 2005


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