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      Generic giant moves in from India

      Posted AtThe Globe and Mail

      India's biggest pharmaceutical company is setting up shop in Canada and promising to use its huge portfolio of generic drugs and manufacturing expertise in India and the United States to shake up the sales and distribution of drugs in this country.

      "We think we're going to have a significant influence in Canada," said Brian Tempest, chief executive officer and managing director of Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd. of Gurgaon, India.

      "The reason we're coming to Canada is because we have product flow.

      "We will be a new player that will bring change to the Canadian marketplace, with a new range of products and innovation, and success in more than 100 countries."

      Canada is the eighth-largest pharmaceutical market in the world and "coming here is a natural outcome of building a global company," Mr. Tempest said.

      Ranbaxy is the first India-based pharmaceutical company to establish a subsidiary in Canada and is expected to use its hefty cost advantage in pricing its medicines.

      "They have a huge competitive advantage because of low production costs in India," said a generic industry official, who asked not to be identified. Among other things, research and development costs in India can be up to 20 per cent lower than in Western industrialized countries.

      Ranbaxy has conducted 161 clinical trials in Canada over the past five years, investing $32-million to prepare for a Canadian launch. It has already received Health Canada approval to sell eight drugs in the anti-infective, diabetes, central nervous system and cardiovascular sectors, including Carvedilol, Ciprofloxacin, Citalopram, Domperidone, Lovastatin, Atenolol, Metformin and Zopiclone.

      "We will start shipping product in a few weeks," said Bill Abboud, who was named president and general manager of Ranbaxy Pharmaceuticals Canada Inc. in October, 2004. Moreover, the company plans to launch a significant number of new products in the next few years, he added.

      Mr. Abboud said the Mississauga-based company's sales force of four people will deal directly with the dozen or so retail drug chains that control almost 70 per cent of the market.

      With global sales of $1.2-billion (U.S.) last year, Ranbaxy Labs is the industry's eighth-largest generic company. Mr. Tempest said the company is forecasting sales of $2-billion by 2007, largely through new product flow, for a compound annual growth rate of 20 per cent between 2003 and 2007.

      In the United States, its largest market, Ranbaxy has obtained 102 drug approvals and has 50 pending with the Food and Drug Administration. They include up to 11 so-called "first-to-file" applications, with brand-name drug sales of $13-billion, including a generic version of Pfizer Inc.'s Lipitor.

      Mr. Tempest said drugs from the company's U.S. and European portfolios are candidates to be introduced into Canada. "Like Australia, Canada is a country where you can utilize your intellectual property to generate drug product licences," he added.

      As a fully integrated drug company, Ranbaxy buys raw materials to make active pharmaceutical ingredients (API), which are converted into tablets and capsules.

      "Buyers at drug chains are very keen on talking to generic companies that make API," Mr. Tempest said. "These companies are in control of product flow. They can guarantee supply and competitive prices."

      Global ambitions

      Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd., India's largest pharmaceutical company, announced yesterday it will expand into Canada. Bill Abboud, left, will be the general manager of the Canadian operation; Brian Tempest, right, is Ranbaxy's chief executive officer.

      Company profile

      Products are sold in over 100 countries, with manufacturing operations in seven and ground presence in 45. The company employs about 9,000 people, 1,100 of them in research and development.

      Incorporated in 1961, went public in 1973.

      Global sales of $1.2-billion (U.S.), an increase of 21 per cent over the prior year. Overseas markets account for 78 per cent of sales.

      Research and development spending is equal to 7 per cent of its sales in 2004, with major research focus on urology, anti-infectives, respiratory, anti-inflammatory and metabolic disorders.

      Goal is to be among the top five generic players with $5-billion in sales by 2012. Has adopted a multipronged strategy: Acquisition of brands overseas; an emphasis on brand marketing in the U.S. and Europe; and entering new markets with value-added product offerings.

      September 23, 2005


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