Nicholas Piramal India Ltd has signed two licencing agreements with UK-based drug discovery company, Morvus Technology Ltd, headquartered in Wiltshire. Under these agreements, Nicholas Piramal gets the rights to develop and commercialise two of Morvus' technologies.
The first agreement relates to Morvus' platform technology that allows the identification of novel genes and proteins associated with programmed cell death, thus opening the way for therapeutic programmes to attenuate their effects. The Indian company will be responsible for developing the technology to generate new drugs in the areas of diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis.
The second agreement encompasses a combination therapy for cancer, which utilises specific 'cyclin-dependent kinase' inhibitors to enhance the effectiveness of known anti-cancer drugs.
Morvus will be entitled to initial fee payments for both contracts and will also be entitled to milestone and 2 per cent royalty payments, as potential products progress to the market.
Ajay Piramal, chairman, Nicholas Piramal, said, "We are pleased to partner Morvus Technology in drug discovery platforms, which reinforce our discovery research efforts. Morvus is doing excellent work from its laboratories in the UK, a region where we continue to find excellent opportunities for partnering in high-end work".
Since early 2005, Nicholas Piramal has made significant investments in the UK across its businesses. It acquired the inhalation anaesthetics business of Rhodia Organique Fine Ltd, UK, in January 2005 followed by the custom manufacturing business of Avecia Group, UK in December 2005 and the Morpeth-based pharmaceutical manufacturing unit of Pfizer, UK, in June, 2006.
With these investments, Nicholas Piramal now has four manufacturing facilities in the UK, which employ nearly 650 people. The Company has recently been short-listed for the "UK Trade and Investment India Business Awards 2006".