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Biocon launches novel drug for psoriasis



Updated On - Monday, 26 August 2013

10 August 2013

BANGALORE: Biocon has launched an injectable drug for patients suffering from moderate to severe psoriasis. 

The Bangalore-headquartered biopharmaceutical company says its novel drug Alzumab, which has been developed through a biological process, is a first of its kind in the world. The company said the drug offers patients a less aggressive dosing regime and a longer treatment-free period. Alzumab is priced at Rs 7,950 per vial, which the company said is at least 50% cheaper than existing biologic drugs from multinational pharma firms. 

"Alzumab is a first in class novel biologic for psoriasis globally. We believe that the drug will change the treatment paradigm for psoriasis in India," said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, CMD, Biocon. The Rs 2,500 core company has spent about 10 years in research and development (R&D) of the drug. 
Dr H Sudarshan Ballal, medical director of Manipal Hospitals, said a lot of dermatologists are excited about the new drug from Biocon. "Biocon's claims (about the drug) are completely true. Doctors from Bangalore are particularly excited because a Bangalore-based company has developed such a novel drug," he said. 

Estimates shared by Biocon peg the number of psoriatic patients in India at 5 million, while globally 2% to 3% of the world's population suffers from this disease. 

The most widely used treatment for psoriasis comprises of immunosuppressant drugs that try to fight the disease, as our body's immune system isn't able to do so. 

While there are no drugs that completely eradicate the disease, there are a handful of injectable biologic drugs produced by global pharmaceutical companies, priced above Rs 15,000 a vial, that are used in treatment. However, out of every 100 psoriatic patients in India, only 2% use biologics in treatment, mainly on account of low accessibility and high cost. 

Biocon said that R&D trials had shown the drug to have a remission period of at least 24 weeks. Other drugs used in the treatment of psoriasis have a remission period between 10 and 20 weeks. 

Shaw said Biocon was now testing the drug for the treatment of other diseases that affect our immune system, such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus. This is Biocon's second novel drug; the first, launched in 2006, was for treatment of head and neck cancer.


Published by: The Times of India

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