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Bayer to Market Biocon Insulin in China

Indian biotech major Biocon Ltd has roped in Bayer HealthCare to market its recombinant human insulin Insugen in the Chinese market, the company //said in a statement Wednesday.

The Bangalore-based biotech firm plans to launch Insugen in China by 2007-08 after completing the registration trials and seeking the regulatory approvals.

"The marketing tie-up with Bayer will be extended to other countries in the Asia-Pacific region later. The incidence of diabetes is rapidly spreading in China, especially in the urban areas. About 40 million Chinese suffer from diabetes currently, with an estimated 3,000 new cases reported every day," the statement said.

According to Biocon chairperson Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Insugen had already achieved critical mass in the Indian market, with substantial market share since its launch.

"The marketing tie-up with Bayer reiterates our commitment to providing biotech solutions to diabetes, termed the 21st century pandemic. We believe Bayer is positioned to achieve significant market share for Insugen in China," Shaw said.

Bayer HealthCare vice-president for Asia Pacific Jean-Luc Lowinski said the agreement with Biocon would strengthen its diabetes franchise strategy and increase its presence in China.

"This deal is the first of its kind in the prescription pharmaceutical market in China. The marketing rights and trademark agreement covers three formulations of insulin: fast-acting (R), intermediate-acting (N), and mixed-acting, in both vials and cartridges," Lowinski pointed out.

The formulations apply to both type-1 and type-2 diabetes. The investment will create a platform for complete diabetes management, with growth potential for Biocon and Bayer in China and other markets, the statement added.

Meanwhile, Biocon reported that it posted a net profit of Rs.390 million for the first quarter (April-June) of the current fiscal (2006-07), the same as in the corresponding quarter of the last fiscal (FY 2006).

In a notification to the stock exchanges, the company said its net income did not appreciate year-on-year YoY) basis due to upfront investments in the biotech park that was recently opened in the electronics city on the outskirts of Bangalore.

The company's consolidated revenue, however, increased by 21 percent to Rs.2.1 billion for the quarter under review (Q1) from Rs.1.8 billion posted in the same quarter a year ago.

The earnings before interest, depreciation, taxes and amortisation (EBIDTA) were Rs.550 million, against Rs.520 million in the same period a year ago.

"Our financial performance in the first quarter has generated good profitability despite challenges. This underpins our confidence in pursuing discovery-led research programs. We believe our innovation led business initiatives have the potential to realise exponential growth in the long-term and deliver superior shareholder value in the future," Shaw said in the statement.

(Source: IANS News)

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