Biocon in joint venture with Abu Dhabi-based Neopharma

Mumbai: Biocon Ltd, India's largest biotechnology company, will set up a joint venture with Abu Dhabi-based Neopharma to manufacture and market a range of bio-pharmaceuticals in the Gulf countries.

This is Biocon's maiden venture in the region and the two companies have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to finalise the joint venture.

"The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) region is an important market for Biocon and the joint venture with Neopharma is an important milestone for Biocon's global foray," Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw said in a company filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange.

Neopharma has a world-class manufacturing facility for finished formulations. The joint venture would leverage the leadership position of Neopharma in the region and expand its existing portfolio with a range of Biocon's generic and therapeutics, she said.

Biocon is among the top biotech firms in Asia and leads a number of Indian companies, which have proven strengths in making generic equivalents of bio-drugs.

India's biotech sector recorded an impressive 37.5 per cent growth with a revenue of $1.45 billion in 2006.

The joint venture would develop and market life-saving bio-pharma products for diabetes, cardio-vascular diseases, oncology, autoimmune and immunosuppressive drugs for organ transplants.

Neopharma chairman and CEO BR Shetty said the company's entry into biotechnology would trigger off a wave of such biotech initiatives in the Gulf region.

Shetty, a recipient of the prestigious Abu Dhabi award, is well known for his leading role in providing comprehensive healthcare in the UAE through a chain of hospitals, pharma outlets and integrated distribution network.

The GCC region is emerging as an important market for Biocon and the proposed joint venture would help in strengthening its global foray, said Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw.