India’s Lupin has been investing heavily in a number of companies around the world and has earmarked a minimum of $600 million for acquisitions in its bid to become a major player.

The Mumbai-based firm has made five acquisitions in the last year and in the last month has acquired a minority stake in Australia’s Generic Health and a majority holding in South Africa’s Pharma Dynamics. Moreover, this type of expansion is set to continue according to comments made by Lupin chairman DB Gupta in an interview with India’s Economic Times.

He said that “we have decided the geographies and businesses we should be in” and while these deals will not “immediately going to add to the top-line and bottom-line much” but it is “more from a longer-term perspective that these investments have been made”. He added that a minimum of $600 million has been set aside to be spent over the next four years, but “the sooner we invest the better.

Mr Gupta said that Lupin is looking to establish a presence in the Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America and “we are also going to strengthen our presence in Japan and North America”. Manufacturing will continue to be carried out domestically as “this is a model that works best. India's advantage is in production”.

He also told the Economic Times that the quality standards of the US Food and Drug Administration “are going to be increasingly tightened over the course of next three-five years” and “unfortunately, most of the companies in India will not be able to stand this test”. Mr Gupta added that in this situation, a “complete reorientation of business will take place, during which there will be a demise of a lot of companies which are not able to maintain the standards”.

Orchid signs deal with Merck & Co
Staying with India and Orchid has signed a licensing deal with Merck & Co for the development and commercialisation of new compounds for the treatment of bacterial and fungal infections.

According to the terms of the agreement, Orchid will receive an undisclosed upfront sum, and is eligible to obtain payments totalling more than $100 million, based on the achievement of various R&D milestones, as well as royalties on global sales of any products that come out of the partnership.

Orchid will undertake discovery and candidate development through Phase IIa clinical trials. Merck will conduct the late_stage trials and commercialisation of the products.

Mervyn Turner, senior vice president of worldwide licensing and external research at Merck, said that “microbial infection and the increased incidence of drug resistant organisms represent a serious unmet medical need”. He added that "Orchid has established impressive expertise and capabilities in anti_infective drug discovery and development as well as manufacturing”.