The foray into peptides will be in two phases. Initially Neuland will develop a non-GMP facility for synthesis of peptides both for generic API and contract research opportunities. It will then move on to offer contract manufacturing of peptides at commercial scale under GMP.
Although peptides drug have been around for decades – insulin being the best example – until the last few years their progress onto the market was slowed by drug delivery issues and complex, expensive manufacturing processes.
With more and more peptides making their way through the development pipeline both as vaccines and therapeutics, contract manufacturers have started to offer peptide manufacturing services as a niche service that is free of the cutthroat competition seen with other more general drug classes.
Figures published in BioPharm International in 2007 indicated that there were roughly 130 peptides in development around the world for around 70 therapeutic indications.
Dr. D R Rao, Neuland’s chairman and managing director, said the company’s aim is to become an “end-to-end service provider for the pharmaceutical industry.”
While almost all the firm’s revenues comes from API manufacturing at present, Rao also wants to boost its activities in “clinical research
and subsequently other areas of drug discovery support services.”
“The foray into peptides is just another step towards achieving the same,” asserted Rao.
Neuland recently formed a joint venture with Cato Research to conduct Phase II and III clinical trials in India.
Meanwhile, Neuland reported its third quarter financial results last week, with sales of 83.4 crore (€13.2m), a 45 per cent increase year-on-year. Operating profit also swelled 8 per cent, but was held back by increases in employee costs (up 69 per cent) and a near doubling in raw material costs.
Outsourcing: Biologics: The CMO Advantage - BioPharm Intl. 20 (2) 40–48 (2007).