RPG Life Sciences revamping

The Rs 252.57-crore pharma and agrochemical company runs three manufacturing units. The Thane unit, near Mumbai, which also houses an R&D centre, is dedicated to bulk drugs. Formulations are made at Ankleshwar in Gujarat, and agrochemicals at Panoli near Ankleshwar.

Thane unit
According to a senior company official, the Thane unit may eventually discontinue bulk drugs production and shift to drug intermediates. This is because RPG Life Sciences has recently signed a contract with Swiss multinational Lonza for manufacturing an intermediate. The company is in the process of finalising similar agreements with US-based Eastman Chemicals and UK-based Marvel Chemicals.

The Thane unit could be ideal for manufacturing drug intermediates since the facility may not be approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for manufacturing bulk drugs since it is 30 years old, feel company officials. On the other hand, intermediates do not require regulatory approvals for catering to Western European and American markets. The Thane unit currently produces bulk drugs such as diphenoxelate, azethioprine, haloperidol, quinfamide, disopyramide phosphate, and resperine.

RPG Life Sciences is negotiating with Eastman Chemicals for supplying two intermediates, of which one will form an input into a 'new chemical entity'. Similarly, the deal with Marvel Chemicals involves one intermediate, which again is for producing a new chemical entity.

For a contract manufacturing company, producing a new chemical entity or its intermediates can be fruitful if the approved drug becomes a hit, as earnings are proportional to drug sales. The deal with Eastman Chemicals and Marvel Chemicals holds much significance for RPG Life Sciences' future.

Opening doors
"To begin with, production of the two intermediates that are inputs into new chemical entities will be modest as the drugs are at their development stages," an RPG official says. "But such deals will bring recognition to the company in the world market, and will eventually open doors for similar deals in future," he adds.