In January 2005, India achieved compliance with the World Trade Organization’s Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights, which, among other things, protect drug patents. Last September, Biocon’s BIOMAb-EGFR became the first new drug to be developed, tested and taken through approval by an Indian company. However, of India’s estimated 20,000 drug firms, few are developing original products and there are fewer than 100 new compounds being developed in the country. Many firms are fighting for an increasingly tight generics market. Nonetheless, India is an advantageous place to develop new drugs: while the total cost of a new drug’s development and approval can be up to $1 billion in the US, the cost in India can be as low as $100 million. Larger companies in India are devoting up to 10% of revenues to R&D and acquisitions, and are making agreements with foreign companies. Companies such as AstraZeneca and Pfizer, which left India due to weak intellectual property regulations, are returning.

Source: Nature

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