Hyderabad: Hyderabad-based integrated pharmaceutical company Laxai Life Sciences, plans to invest Rs 400 crore in R&D, technology and expanding manufacturing capacity in the next 3-4 years in Telangana. It is in talks with private equity firms for investment.
The company is focused on small molecules, wants to grow in the drug innovation space (having delivered clinical candidates to customers), take up cutting-edge process R&D to scale up compounds in oncology and specialty chemicals and explore growth opportunities in generics.
Established in 2007, Laxai accelerates discovery chemistry for global pharmaceutical companies and takes up bulk drug development & manufacturing, and formulation development for innovators and generics through its two manufacturing facilities operated by its subsidiary Therapiva.
The company supports development of specialty chemicals and advanced intermediates that go into innovator molecules, compounds for oncology and generics. It also works with companies such as Dr Reddy’s. It is working with IICT on antiviral drug to reduce imports at different stages of drug synthesis.
Vamsidhar Maddipatla, CMD, Laxai Life Science, told Telangana Today, “With IICT and CSIR, Laxai is conducting Phase II clinical trial using Colchicine to prevent cardiac injury and improve clinical outcome for Covid-19 patients. We will initiate the trial this month and may enroll 80 subjects for this trial, with an interim analysis on about 20 subjects to start with. We have applied for another product and expect Phase II approval soon.”
Laxai has also partnered with A2A Pharmaceuticals which has an artificial intelligence platform with huge data on compound structures using deep learning and algorithms to work on oncology and Covid indications. Both the partners plan to take potential compounds together to clinical trials.
The company has a facility in Genome Valley catering to the US and European biotech companies. “We work with biotech and pharma companies taking their ideas to conceptualisation stage using insilico software, synthesising compounds and figuring out which of those compounds can become potential hits, nominating leads through medical chemistry work, and identifying, stabilising and characterising the molecule and filing for the clinical trial.
Our revenues in contract research are growing at 30-35 per cent year-on-year.”
“Almost 60 per cent of our work is focused on the oncology segment. We also carry out process R&D on compounds to scale up so that yields are delivered,” he added.
Maddipatla said the master plan and the concept of Hyderabad Pharma City is phenomenal. It is one-of-its-kind in India. There is no other city or State which has the ecosystem that Hyderabad and Telangana have and the skill sets for such an industrial park.
“I am one of the supporters of this initiative and we are eagerly looking to see when they will start allotting land so that we can expand by setting up new manufacturing facilities. Detailed thinking that has gone into the design of the Pharma City is unique. They have addressed underground utilities, CETP, freight terminal and other infrastructure needed. The Telangana government has done a phenomenal job in conceptualising this. Not only Indian firms, companies from Korea, Japan and other countries will establish facilities here,” he added.
The company is going to develop 5-7 bulk drugs every year, which it will sell to multiple customers. It has invested Rs 20 crore in R&D in the last two years. On the other hand, a bigger opportunity exists in carrying out R&D and scaling up of molecules for customers. This activity continues to pick up and in the next 3-4 years, these molecules will come to commercial production where the margins are much higher than the generics.
The company’s R&D will continue to drive development of new molecules and intermediates. Laxai has a total employee base of about 700 people which includes 250 people in R&D.
Laxai is currently working with a European company to develop advanced intermediates using enzymes, which will help increase yield and reduce pollution in manufacturing. The company is also upbeat on the prospects of AI in drug discovery. “We also want to acquire contract development and manufacturing organisations in the US and Europe. We are evaluating all options,” he added.
Currently, the company’s 90 per cent of the contract research revenues come from overseas markets. And bulk of the manufacturing activity is also focused on catering to the US and European markets.
“We have two large facilities now. The Jeedimetla facility has USFDA, EDQM and Brazil Anvisa approvals and our Pashamylaram facility has a GMP certification,” he added.