Biocon eyes more research outsourcing deals

Bangalore-headquartered Biocon Ltd, India's largest biotechnology firm, will focus on expanding its research outsourcing portfolio from global drug makers who have been trying to scale down the cost of developing new molecular drug development.

According to its founder, Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, chairman and managing director, pharmaceutical research could be carried out in India at about one-fourth of the cost in the United States mainly due to the availability of a large pool of cheaper talent pool.

"Today, there is serious pressure on big pharma companies plus small biotech companies to outsource a large part of their research," she said.

Mazumdar-Shaw told reporters in Bangalore that research services would be a "very important and integrated part" of the Biocon group and the company plans to increase the share of research services business to a quarter of its total revenue in the next five years from about 15 per cent now.

US drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb, had said last week that it would work with Biocon's research services unit Syngene to set up a facility in Bangalore to aid discovery and early drug development.

Mazumdar-Shaw started Biocon in her garage in Bangalore in 1978, possibly before garage start-ups became a rage in Silicon Valley. Today, Biocon earns healthy revenue from branded drugs like BioMab EGFR used in the treatment of head and neck cancer, and a large portion from its enzymes businesses.