Lupin forms JV with Japan's Yoshindo Inc

Drug major Lupin has entered into a joint venture pact with Toyama-based Yoshindo Inc to form a new entity which will be responsible for development as well as obtaining marketing access for products in the Japanese market.

The joint venture entity -- YL Biologics (YLB) -- will be jointly managed by both partners and will be responsible for conducting clinical development of certain biosimilars, including regulatory filings and obtaining marketing authorisations in Japan, Lupin Ltd said in a statement.

As part of the arrangement between the two firms, YLB will in-license Monoclonal Antibodies (mAbs) from Lupin and also partner with other companies across the globe for the Japanese market which already has a clear cut regulatory regime in place for the development and commercialisation of biologicals, it added.

"We are very excited about the joint venture with Yoshindo, a partner who shares our commitment to bringing biosimilars to market in Japan. YLB is a reflection of Lupin's long-term commitment to the Japanese market and is an important first step forward to establishing Lupin's global Biosimilar portfolio," Lupin Ltd Vice Chairman Kamal K Sharma said.

Lupin's Etanercept biosimilar, developed by its Biotechnology Research Group in Pune will be the first product to be licensed for clinical development to YLB.

Etanercept is a biopharmaceutical product approved globally for treating autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid arthritis and Psoriasis.

"Lupin will be entitled to milestone based licensing income in addition to commercial supplies of the drug substance. Both Lupin & Yoshindo will then market the product under their own brand names by leveraging their respective sales networks." the Mumbai-based company said.

The Japanese biological market is currently valued at close to $12 billion and growing at 2-3 per cent annually.

Commenting on the deal, Yoshindo Inc President Kenzo Shimomura said YL Biologics is our bridgehead to expand Yoshindo's activities to the biosimilar market in Japan and highlight on the strategic representation of the company.

"We are very pleased to enter into a strong partnership with Lupin which will make it possible to jointly develop a meaningful biosimilar product pipeline for the Japanese market," he added.

Established in 1962, Yoshindo Inc has revenue of over $350 million and is amongst the top five generic pharmaceutical corporations in Japan.

Lupin's shares were trading at Rs 989.10 apiece on the BSE, up 0.71 per cent from its previous close.

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