Biocon launches biological drug to combat psoriasis

Bangalore: Bangalore-headquartered biotechnology company Biocon on Saturday announced the launch of a biological drug researched, developed and manufactured in the country to treat chronic plaque psoriasis and said it is in discussions to finalise a global partner to take it worldwide.

Alzumab, now commercially available in the country for treating patients with chronic plaque psoriasis, was priced at least 50 per cent lower than similar drugs in the market, the company`s Chairperson and Managing Director, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw told a news conference here.

"....We will be addressing the global opportunity through partnering the molecule (the infusion drug) globally", she said, adding, Biocon was currently engaged in discussions with a large number of companies in this regard.

"This is a breakthrough innovation and it has potential to make huge global impact", Shaw said adding, it is a matter of time before Biocon inks partnership deal to take it worldwide.

Biocon, which started developing Alzumab in 2006, estimates psoriasis treatment will have a global market size of USD 8 billion by 2016.

Psoriasis is a socially-debilitating disease affecting an estimated 2-3 per cent of the world population.

Shaw also said Biocon would soon file for an investigational new drug (IND) application with US FDA (Food and Drug Administration) for Alzumab, which is indicated for the treatment of moderate-to-severe psoriasis.

"We have had discussions with regulators...US FDA.. And they are also very excited about the promise of this drug and we are planning to file an IND very soon (within the current fiscal)", Mazumdar-Shaw said.

Biocon said Alzumab (Itolizumab) has demonstrated preclinical and clinical evidence in treating other auto-immune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis and multiple sclerosis.

Rakesh Bamzai, President-Marketing, Biocon said, "We are committed to address the huge unmet need of patients suffering from psoriasis through its `first in class` biologic Alzumab.

"Compared to existing therapies, it offers a better safety and efficacy profile to the patients with longer remission periods and lower infection rates that will lead to better patient compliance and overall reduction in the cost burden to the patient."

The company said Alzumab was the world`s first novel anti-CD6 antibody developed by Biocon to address a large unmet need for the treatment of Psoriasis in India.


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