Further evidence of the emergence of India as a player on the world’s pharmaceutical research scene came today with the announcement of a $150 licensing deal for Advinus Therapeutics from US drugmaker Merck & Co.

Advinus, which is backed by India’s Tata group, will carry out research for Merck on two unidentified projects in the area of metabolic disorders, according to the Indian company.

Advinus has a number of programmes ongoing in metabolic disorders, including the development of drugs that target hepatic glucose production, peripheral insulin resistance and insulin secretion by beta cells in diabetes, as well as satiety-inducing drugs for obesity. It is also working on therapies that increase levels of protective high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol.

In addition to the $150 million earmarked for licensing fees and milestone payments, Advinus will also receive royalties on sales should products from the collaboration reach the market.