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Updated: April 16, 2012 21:58 IST

Piramal buys molecular imaging portfolio of Bayer

Special Correspondent
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Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Healthcare addressing a press conference in Mumbai on Monday. Photo: Shashi Ashiwal
Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piramal Healthcare addressing a press conference in Mumbai on Monday. Photo: Shashi Ashiwal

Molecule to help detect Alzheimer's early

Piramal Healthcare (PHL), on Monday, said there was a revenue potential of $1.5 billion globally for its newly acquired florbetaben molecule, which could help in early detection of Alzheimer's disease.

Addressing a press conference, Ajay Piramal, Chairman, Piraman Group, said that PHL had signed an agreement to acquire worldwide rights to the molecular imaging research and development portfolio of Bayer Pharma AG through a newly-created subsidiary, Piramal Imaging SA, based in Berlin, Germany. The portfolio includes rights to florbetaben, which, according to the company, is in the final stages of its Phase-III clinical trials. Financial details of the deal were not disclosed.

“We are moving from branded generics to intellectual property (IP) space and this is one more step in that direction.” PHL has 14 molecules in various stages of clinical trials.

“The new way forward is to launch patent-protected products globally as we increasingly move into personalised medicine,” he said, adding that even big global pharmaceutical players were focussing on personalised medicine.

PHL is competing with giants such as Eli Lilly and General Electric which are also working on similar Alzheimer's disease imaging agents.

As per the deal, Piramal will acquire intellectual property (including patents, trademarks and knowhow) worldwide development, marketing and distribution rights of florbetaben and other clinical and pre-clinical assets of Bayer's molecular imaging business. It will also acquire the Berlin facility and around 20 scientists.

Florbetaben is in the final stage of clinical trials and, according to PHL, is used to detect beta-Amyloid plaque deposition in the brain, which is the pathological hallmark of disease in probable Alzheimer's disease patients. This early detection is expected to result in earlier diagnosis and specific treatment of Alzheimer's disease.

Mr. Piramal said, there were around 25 million Alzheimer's disease patients worldwide and this could reach 100 million by 2020.

PHL was likely to seek U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval in the third quarter of the current calendar and once U.S. FDA approval was received, commercialisation would start immediately. Thereafter, the company would file for approvals in Europe and Japan, Mr. Piramal said.

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The clear winner in this deal is Bayer. They wash of their hand in the process. Piramal, has a work cut out for them to win the heart and minds of people in FDA in US. Alzheimer disease is a very complicated disease and no one completely understands that. The sciences is not clear if the "a-beta plaque deposit" is the reason why people gets this disease or not. Is that process the beginning or the end stage are other lingering question related to this disease. Some also suggest that the plaque may be an innocent bystander as well. There you have it and take your pick! Understand that whether you have low /medium or high plaque burden in the brain, this agent will light up! Meaning all you have found out is that you have a plaque. That is pretty much to it. Piramal is also in competition with Eli-Lilly's agent and they already have a letter of approval, but FDA has put a burden on Lilly to "interpret" their result! Not a good scenario for Piramal!

from:  Raman
Posted on: Apr 16, 2012 at 21:43 IST
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