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AHMEDABAD-BASED Torrent Pharmaceuticals, part of Rs 6,100-crore Torrent Group, has struck a licensing and supply agreement with UK-based pharma MNC AstraZeneca. Torrent Pharma becomes the second Gujarat based-pharma company to enter into such agreement.

   Last year, Ahmedabad-based Claris Lifesciences had entered into a product licensing arrangement with Pfizer. The world’s No. 1 pharma company was first to put the ball moving for the global pharma companies with its new strategic move by engaging Indian generic drugmaker for product licensing, in order to tap the generic and emerging markets. Apart from Claris, Pfizer also had entered into product licensing with Aurobindo Pharma, last year.

     AstraZeneca, the world’s seventh-largest pharma company has announced that it has entered into a licence and supply agreement with Torrent Pharma for portfolio of generic medicines for which Torrent already has licences in many countries. Torrent Pharma’s share rose to a new high of Rs 490.10 and registered a jump of 3.03% on the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE).

   AstraZeneca expressed its intention to brand and market these products in many of its emerging markets, where it already has a strong footprint.

   Similar to the nature of agreement between Claris and Pfizer, AstraZeneca had agreed with Torrent Pharma to have initial purchase of Torrent’s licences and market authorisations for 18 products in nine countries. The agreement allows the flexibility to add more products and new countries where AstraZeneca sees opportunities for growth. Torrent will manufacture the medicines at its own facilities in India for AstraZeneca. However, the company did not disclose the financial terms of the agreements.

   According to the company, the emerging markets are estimated to contribute around 70% of pharmaceutical industry growth in the next five years, and branded generics represent approximately 50% by value in these emerging markets. AstraZeneca expects to capitalise on this opportunity and over time plans to broaden its portfolio beyond these initial 18 products.

   In a company release, Tony Zook, head of AstraZeneca’s global commercial organisation, said: “In markets, where consumers and physicians have a strong preference for trusted brands, we believe AstraZeneca’s long-standing reputation for quality is a sustainable competitive advantage.”

   While Torrent Pharma is yet to inform the BSE, its counterpart AstraZeneca, a listed entity on NYSE, made the announcement. An email send to Torrent Pharma went unanswered.

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