Business News

Top Novartis cardiac drug to go off patent



Mumbai: Cardiology, one of the fastest growing therapies after diabetes, is all set to witness intense action in the pharma retail market as a blockbuster drug is going off patent. Major companies including Natco, Cipla, Torrent, Lupin, Sun Pharma and USV are readying plans to enter the Rs 24,000-crore space to get a slice of the opportunity, with Swiss major Novartis’s blockbuster cardiology drug losing patent protection in January.
Industry experts expect cut-throat competition in the heart failure therapy, with over 50 companies launching generic versions of Swiss firm Novartis’s heart failure drug, Vymada (Sacubitril and Valsartan) at a fraction of the innovator’s price. People suffering from cardiac problems can therefore look forward to substantial savings in their healthcare budget.
The drug enjoys a near 40% compound annual growth rate (CAGR). It is one of the fastest growing molecules in the cardiology segment. The combination Sacubitril and Valsartan, currently under patent from Novartis, is indicated for heart failure patients with ‘reduced ejection fraction’. The Swiss firm markets the heart failure drug as Entresto, estimated to have $4 billion annual sales worldwide.
Affordable versions of the blockbuster drug are expected to hit retail chemists in January, reducing the cost of the therapy by nearly half. A similar trend was witnessed in another chronic therapy when cheaper versions of US Merck’s diabetes blockbuster drug Januvia (Sitagliptin) hit the market in July, slashing patients’ bill by nearly a third.
Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) are the leading cause of death globally. The World Health Organization estimates that CVDs will account for over 35% of all deaths in India by 2030, up from 25% as of 2016.
Besides Novartis’s Vymada, Dr Reddy’s, JB Chemicals and Mankind are the other players who are marketing it under their own brands at present. The Swiss firm had launched its brand in India in February 2017, and in-licensed it to Cipla and Lupin.
“No single drug in the pharma space has reached a size of Rs 550 crore over five years. With several companies entering the space with the innovator brand going off patent, volumes are expected to triple. There will also be a reduction of prices (from the innovator’s price) by 50-75% over the next few months,” an industry expert told TOI.
Keeping in mind its potential, companies including Mumbai-based JB Chemicals and Hyderabad-based Dr Reddy’s, armed their portfolio through the acquisition of brands Azmarda and Cidmus, respectively, from Novartis, earlier this year. Most companies whom TOI contacted declined to comment on the matter due to the confidentiality involved around launch. However, some of them confirmed plans separately on condition of anonymity.
Heart failure is a progressive chronic syndrome characterised by a decrease in functional status and quality of life. The burden of heart failure is experienced by an estimated 23 million people worldwide. In India, the prevalence is estimated to be about 1% of the population.


About the author

Leave a Comment