Re-posted from the Cross-Border Biotech Blog
By Jeremy Grushcow
The Cross-Border Biotech Blog has been following the increasing innovative activity taking place in India’s and China’s biopharma industries, and Glenmark Pharmaceuticals is a great example of this trend.
Forbes profiled Glenmark this week (H/T FierceBiotech), noting that it started in 1978 as a generics firm but now has seven clinical-stage compounds and has partnerships with Forest Labs in the U.S. and Teijin Pharma in Japan.
- Glenmark is using its revenues from generics to fund its innovative R&D programs. Biotech business models have long incorporated quick revenue as a funding source for long-term R&D; but the typical focus for the short term is on services revenue (because it typically leverages the platform they’re building anyway). For long-term survival, though, nothing beats tearing a page out of Big Pharma’s playbook. In Canada, Bioniche’s tenacity is fueled in no small part by animal health revenues, mimicking the Big Pharma animal health divisions. Glenmark, similarly, has ridden into R&D on the back of the other Big Pharma cash cow — generics
- Glenmark saw a strong IP regime as an opportunity. I’ve been hypothesizing that more innovative activity will drive more support for IP protection in India and China; but Glenmark is an example of the opposite causal relationship:
“During his time in the U.S., Saldanha could see that India was likely to join the World Trade Organization and that meant come 2005 it would have to respect patent laws: ‘Generics generate cash, but we needed innovation to take us into the future.’”
My bottom line: Glenmark is a great example of how to look to the future and build for it. Canada has an opportunity now, on a national scale, to deploy its revenue both within the biopharma industry (from our generics companies) and outside it (from our natural resources) to build for the future Saldanha saw. We’d better seize that opportunity while we can.