Cipla to buy stakes in two biotech firms for Rs300 crore

Cipla chairman Y K HamiedDrug maker Cipla has ventured into biotechnology by acquiring 40-er cent and 25-per cent stakes in two biotech firms - one in Goa and the other in Hong Kong - for $65 million (Rs300 crore).

The company informed the bourses that it would acquire a 40-per cent stake in the Indian biotech firm by subscribing to fresh shares of the company, which is setting up a state-of-the-art facility for biosimilar products in Goa. Cipla will have the rights to market the products in India and overseas.

It is also purchasing a 25-per cent stake in another firm in Hong Kong. The investment will be made through a wholly owned overseas subsidiary. The Hong Kong firm also has plans to set up a facility for biosimilars in Shanghai.

Biosimilars are new variants of biopharmaceuticals whose patents have expired. They are similar to the original product in terms of safety and efficacy.

''We will buy a 40-per cent stake in Goa-based Mab Pharm and a 25-per cent stake in Bio Mabs, Shanghai, through subscription of fresh shares,'' chairman Y K Hamied said. Cipla will fund the acquisition through internal accrual, he added. Mab Pharm and Bio Mabs are setting up biosimilar product making units in Goa and Shanghai, respectively.

Though the company did not disclose any further details on the acquisition or the therapeutical categories that it would target, reports said it planned to bring biosimilars to India at an affordable price. They said Cipla would target anti-cancer and asthma categories.