India's second largest drug maker by revenue, Lupin has acquired Symbiomix Therapeutics, a US based company focused on developing drugs for women's healthcare, for $150 million. Lupin will pay $50 million upfront and the rest over the next five years.
The acquisition of Symbiomix and the 'Solosec' franchise will help Lupin expand its women's health specialty business. On September 15, the US drug regulator FDA had approved Symbiomix's lead product, Solosec (secnidazole) oral granules, for the treatment of bacterial vaginosis (BV) in adult women. The drug is expected to be commercially available by mid-2018 in the US market. The drug has Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP) status, which means the medication is intended to treat serious or life-threatening infections and is eligible for at least 10 years of exclusivity in the United States. Lupin said Solosec is the first and only single dose oral treatment approved for BV, the most prevalent gynecologic infection in the U.S., affecting 21 million women ages 14 to 49 annually.
"This acquisition is in line with Lupin's specialty focus and will supplement its women's health portfolio (methergine). Lupin will be able to leverage its current women's health marketing force, bringing operating leverage. The product is likely to take some time to scale up (1-2 years) post which it should break even", said HDFC securities analysts Amey Chalke and Siddhant Mansukhani.
The acquisition comes at a time when the Rs.17,119 crore Lupin and fellow Indian generic companies are facing price erision for their products due to intense competition, channel partner consolidation and stringent approvals.
Two years ago, Lupin had acquired dermatology focused US generics firm Gavis for $880 million. In the last 4-5 years, Lupin has been investing in complex generics, areas of higher entry barriers like inhalation devices, biosimilars and depot injectables along with a pipeline of first-to-file products to boost its US revenues. Currently Lupin is the fourth largest pharmaceutical player in the US by prescriptions.
"Apart from complex generics where we have built capabilities and started evolving a pipeline, we are also focused on building our specialty brand business in women's health and paediatrics", Vinita Gupta, CEO of Lupin had told Business Today in a recent interview.