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Florbetaben from Piramal now

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ET reports on a drug deal which might help in early detection of Alzheimer’s:

Drugmaker Piramal Healthcare sees revenue potential of $1.5 billion from its new florbetaben molecule, a possible Alzheimer’s treatment acquired by the company in a deal with Germany’s Bayer AG .

Florbetaben, which is in the final stages of clinical trials, detects symptoms in probable sufferers of Alzheimer’s and could allow early diagnosis and specific treatment of the disease. US approval will be sought in late 2012.

“There are about 25 million patients of Alzheimer’s disease globally and it would grow to 100 million by 2020 … hence the segment has a huge revenue potential and has lower competition,” Piramal Chairman Ajay Piramal told reporters.

“Post US, we plan to file for approvals in Europe and Japan as well,” he said.

Florbetaben is racing with similar Alzheimer’s imaging agents from global pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly and Co, Pfizer Inc and General Electric Co to enter a global market estimated at anywhere from $1 billion to $5 billion.

With this purchase Piramal seems to be set on reinventing its business model, reports Washington Post:

India’s Piramal Healthcare agreed Monday to buy a portfolio of medical imaging molecules from Germany’s Bayer Pharma including an Alzheimer’s diagnosis it says could yield $1.5 billion in revenue.

The deal, for an undisclosed sum, brings Piramal, long known for its generic drugs business, closer to building a lucrative brand-name pharmaceutical business.

Florbetaben does not treat the disease, but it could help in diagnosis. The molecule binds to beta-Amyloid plaques in the brain, which are a diagnostic hallmark of Alzheimer’s, and can be visualized in living patients using imaging technology. Previously, definitive diagnosis was only possible through post-mortem autopsy.

New treatments are aimed at targeting those plaques, and florbetaben could also be helpful in their development, the company said.

The group will create a new subsidiary, Piramal Imaging, to focus on developing the new portfolio. Core members of Bayer’s research team will join the new subsidiary.

In 2011, Piramal acquired BioSyntech, a cartilage repair agent, which recently received approval for commercial sale in Europe.

Piramal’s healthcare business sold its mainstay generic drug business to U.S. pharmaceutical giant Abbott Laboratories for $3.8 billion in May 2010. Piramal has been under pressure ever since to clarify for investors how it plans to reinvent itself and reinvest that money profitably.

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Written by Arhopala Bazaloides

April 16, 2012 at 1:03 pm

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