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ELDER Pharmaceuticals has signed an agreement with US-based MD Anderson Cancer Center to conduct human experiments for its newly-discovered anti-cancer drug. As per the agreement, the cancer centre will invest into human trials in the US, while Elder Pharmaceuticals would retain exclusive manufacturing rights for the drug.

“The deal is unique, as the ownership rights of the drug will lie with MD Anderson and the manufacturing rights will be with Elder. MD Anderson has the option of selling the rights to any major pharma company in the world, but that company will have to manufacture the same only through Elder,” said Elder Pharmaceuticals director (international) Alok Saxena.

The anti-cancer drug, developed by Elder Pharmaceuticals, is an alternative to chemotherapy, and hence, has no known major side-effects, said a company official. The drug can be delivered both through intravenous as well as oral methods.

The company expects the commercial launch of the drug by 2012. The market size for such cancer therapies is estimated to be at around $3 billion across the globe. The US, Europe and Japan together contribute 78% to this market. Elder estimates this drug to have a potential to capture a global market share of 3-4%.

According to a company official, the cancer centre is likely to invest around $200 million on human trials. Elder Pharmaceuticals has a presence in niche therapeutic segments, such as female healthcare, osteoporosis, dermatology, pain management, cardiology, diabetology, nutraceuticals and vitamin supplements.

The company also have a major presence in calcium supplements, wound healing and injectable B12 vitamin. The company follows the non-infringing business model of either in-licensing products of innovator companies or manufacturing off-patented drugs. It has entered into marketing and manufacturing alliances with 30 international companies to launch their research-based products in India, said the official.

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