Sun Pharma has no immediate plans to enter into vaccine production as getting into the vertical would require an altogether different manufacturing set-up, informed a top company official. The company is based in Mumbai and is strong in various generic therapeutic segments that is eyeing over the biosimilars to fuel its future growth.
“I think our preliminary assessment indicates that vaccines will require a dedicated manufacturing facility and it cannot be produced in a facility where we are making multiple other products,” Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Managing Director Dilip Shanghvi said in a call with analysts. The billionaire industrialist noted that for getting into vaccine production, a completely new set of manufacturing infrastructure is required.
“So, that’s broadly our understanding. So, we currently don’t have any facility which we are looking at for producing vaccines,” Shanghvi said. On the biosimilar front, he noted that the drug firm is looking to develop a range of such products.
“We are evaluating development of some biosimilars which can be classified amongst the third wave of biosimilars,” Shanghvi said while clarifying that the company is looking at 2030 kind of timeline for such products to hit the market.
A biosimilar is a product which is similar to another already approved biological medicine. The company is looking at products which have significant future patent expiry dates so that it could be amongst the first firms to get initial approvals, Shanghvi said.
“That’s the focus and priority. And that’s not the only (thing), there are multiple priorities, and also (we are) trying to find a way by which we can leverage our presence in the market so that we can successfully build a biosimilars portfolio,” he added.
The development of the biosimilars would not be a ‘big drain’ on the company’s cash flow and profitability, he noted. Commenting on the US business, he said the drug firm’s current generic pipeline for the US market includes 94 abbreviated new drug applications (ANDAs) and nine new drug applications (NDAs) awaiting approval with the US FDA. In 2020-21, the company launched around 18 new products in the US.
On business outlook, Shanghvi noted: “Given the uncertainties of the pandemic in the near term, we are refraining from giving guidance for FY22. However, all our businesses are well positioned and our endeavour will be to grow the business, notwithstanding the near term uncertainties related to COVID-19.”
Shanghvi said the drug firm is waiting for the regulator to inspect the facility, the drug firm’s revenue from operations stood at Rs 33,498 crore in 2020-21. Commenting on the company’s Halol plant, which has been under the USFDA radar for the last few years.
“We have requested for an inspection. Now, I think it’s up to them to inspect the facility. And hopefully this time we should be able to clear it successfully, that’s the focus,” he added.