Mumbai: Jubilant Organosys, one of the leading collaborative research and manufacturing services (CRAMS) companies in India, has set up a 50:50 joint venture with US-based multinational Eli Lilly for new drug development.
The joint venture will focus on pre-clinical molecules and their development through phase-II clinical testing. The two plan to invest around $8 million over the next three years.
The joint venture, to be modelled after Eli Lilly's early-stage development division, Chorus, to be set up at Bangalore, is expected to start operations before the year-end. Chorus quicken the pace of drug development by tying up with external contract research specialists in specific areas.
''This unique partnership will be a pioneering effort in leveraging the expertise of a pharma company like Lilly with the emerging development capabilities of Jubilant, in accelerating drug development to provide patients with affordable health care in areas of unmet medical needs,'' Jubilant chairman Shyam S Bhartia said.
Jubilant is already providing pre-clinical work for Eli Lilly since 2006 under a five-year drug discovery partnership. ''Where the first deal ends, the second begins,'' said Hari Bhartia, Jubilant's co-chairman and managing director.
While the earlier partnership was on a project-to-project basis, the current joint venture would be an ongoing process, with a devoted team of scientists working exclusively on different projects, said Jubilant Biosys CEO Sridhar Mosur, adding, the venture intends to hire around 35 scientists initially.
The joint venture will be managed by an independent team of drug development experts and will focus on preclinical molecules and their development through Phase II clinical testing, before returning successful assets to the sponsors for further development.
''We are very pleased to expand our collaboration with Eli Lilly and Company from discovery to clinical development, leveraging India's emerging clinical capabilities. As in our discovery collaboration, we believe this unique partnership will be a pioneering effort in leveraging the expertise of a global pharmaceutical company like Lilly with the emerging development capabilities of Jubilant, in accelerating drug development to provide patients with affordable health care in areas of unmet medical needs,'' Shyam S Bhartia and Hari S Bhartia said ina company release.
The joint venture will work on drugs for oncology, metabolic disorders, cardiovascular and diabetes segments and provide pre-clinical work besides developing the molecules through to phase-II clinical testing. After completion of phase-II testing, the successful assets will be returned to the sponsors or the IP owners for further development.