Cipla Exits Biosimilar Business

Indian drug producer Cipla has announced that it is exiting the biosimilar business. Cipla will end all plans to manufacture biosimilar drugs in-house as the company looks to a new restructuring plan that it hopes will restart growth. Cipla is also exiting several other low profit businesses.

Umang Vohra, Managing Director and Global Chief Executive Officer of Cipla, released a statement on the company’s exit from the biosimilar industry. “We realized that manufacturing (of biotech drugs) is not important,” Vohra said. “There are enough efficiencies in the biotech system outside of our own.”

Just last year, Cipla had made plans to set up South Africa’s first ever biosimilar manufacturing unit, at a price tag of about $91 million. The plans to to establish the manufacturing unit in the KwaZulu-Natal province are now “on hold.”

Cipla has two biosimilar drugs under development, copycat versions of cancer drugs bevacizumab and trastuzumab. The company is considering the option of offloading its biosimilar portfolio altogether.

“We are doing this because we believe that the profile of biosimilars business have become fairly competitive. And one where we do not want to put more capital. It’s a capital allocation decision in the end,” Vohra said.

Typically, it takes between $30-$50 million to develop a biosimilar drug for global use. Cipla has said that it will instead be investing that money in building its specialty pipeline, especially respiratory drugs in the US market.

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