The product is one of the country’s most widely prescribed treatments for epilepsy and, in addition to Xatral, Tritace, Rulide, Stilnox and Perenan, is the sixth drug that the Shanghai-based firm will ship on Sanofi’s behalf.
Sanofi was one of the first companies to begin working with NovaMed in 2006 when it awarded the firm rights to distribute Xatral for the benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) market.
Yi Hui, a member of Sanofi’s local communications department, told in-PharmaTechnologist that NovaMed had been selected to help build “a number of key brands in China whilst Sanofi focuses its efforts and attention on a number of their other lead molecules for the Chinese market.”
Hui added that the partnership will “strengthen Sanofi’s presence and position in the Chinese market,” particularly in terms of expanding hospital coverage of its drugs in various cities across the country.
With regard to NovaMed’s involvement in distributing other Sanofi products in the future, Hui commented that: “It is important for [the firm] to retain a variety of options in how to commercialise our brands in China. The choice will depend on the best approach to maximize our presence and market share in China. This decision is made on a brand by brand basis.
“At this stage the engagement [with NovaMed] is in commercialising brands and has not been extended to that of drug development. Sanofi in China has a fully resourced drug development unit which will be used when the services are required,” Hui added.
Prior to this announcement, Sanofi had earmarked China as a key target. Hui explained that: “For many multi national pharmaceutical companies, the emerging markets have gained in importance. China remains the lead potential market in the emerging markets and will continue to attract a high level of investment from big pharma."
Hui added that the Chinese pharmaceutical sector, which is expanding at a rate of 20 per cent a year and is expected to be the fifth largest in the world by 2011, offers a significant commercial opportunity as well as providing a number of key arbitrage opportunities in manufacturing and drug developments.