Ranbaxy to raise research spending to 6 per cent of sales by 2002

After having tasted success in research into drug discovery and drug delivery systems, Ranbaxy Laboratories is planning to hike its research outlay to 6 per cent of sales by the year 2002. The company currently spends 4-5 per cent of its turnover on research that includes expenses towards clinical research and drug registration costs.

Meanwhile, the company has filed for US patents for three to four more novel drug delivery system, or NDDS, products in areas of anti-infectives, cardiovasculars and antihistamines. Two of these patents are for drugs that are still covered under patents, as in case of ciprofloxacin. Ranbaxy is also working on an NDDS of omeprazole, a $3.7 billion antiulcerant drug.

It is learnt that the company is spending Rs 3-5 crore on each NDDS and the total investment made so far is around Rs 15 crore. The new products have cleared bio-availability studies. This will be followed by phase 2 and phase 3 trials, after which US FDA approvals can be sought.

On the discovery front, Ranbaxy's new molecule Pravosin, or RBx 2258, for benign prostatic hyperplasia, or BPH, has cleared the first part of phase 1 trials and is entering the second part. The company has spent about Rs 10 crore on the molecule. The company has also started work on a next generation molecule for BPH that is believed to be more advanced than RBx 2258.

A urea derivative, another research molecule for asthma, will undergo phase 1 trials early next year.