Cipla Partners With Roche Pharma India To Create Greater Access To Key Medicines

Press Release

Cipla Ltd. and Roche Products (India) Private Limited have signed a distribution agreement for the promotion and sale of tocilizumab and the 2nd brand of bevacizumab.

Through this partnership, the companies will leverage their expertise to increase access to these innovative medicines for patients in India.

Cipla Ltd. and Roche Pharma India announced today that the two companies have entered in to an agreement under which Cipla will promote and distribute tocilizumab (Actemra) and Syndyma, the 2nd brand of Roche’s cancer therapy, bevacizumab (Avastin) in India. This partnership is in line with Cipla and Roche’s efforts to improve healthcare and increase access to innovative, life-changing medicines in India, particularly to patients who currently do not have access to them.

Umang Vohra, MD & Global CEO Cipla said: “The prevalence of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis is widely spread across India, and Cipla can contribute to provide broader access to innovative medicines like tocilizumab and bevacizumab. We look forward to promote and distribute the drugs in India in furtherance to our philosophy of Caring for Life.”

Lara Bezerra, Managing Director – Roche Pharma India said: “At Roche, improving access to the critical medicines that patients need is an integral part of what we do. We believe that everyone who needs our medicines should be able to access and benefit from them. This partnership will significantly advance our efforts to expand the reach of, and improve access to, our innovative medicines. This will also enable us at Roche to focus on bringing new, transformative medicines to patients in India. As Roche, we will continue to collaborate with various stakeholders to help transform healthcare in India.”

About bevacizumab: (bevacizumab Injection) is a recombinant humanised monoclonal antibody that selectively binds to and neutralises the biologic activity of human vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF). Bevacizumab contains human framework regions with antigen-binding regions of a humanised murine antibody that binds to VEGF. Various Clinical trials have proven its efficacy and safety in different solid tumours and is approved by regulators worldwide for certain type of brain tumour, cancers of the kidney, lung, colon and rectum and certain types of gynecological cancers viz. ovarian cancer and cervical cancers. It is usually given as part of a combination of cancer medicines.

About Actemra: Actemra® (tocilizumab Injection) is a recombinant humanized anti interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor monoclonal antibody. This IL-6 protein is believed to play an important role in RA. It binds to both soluble and membrane-bound IL 6 receptors and has shown to inhibit receptor-mediated signaling. It has been studied in various clinical trials & has been approved for its use in various indications like Rheumatoid arthritis (RA), Polyarticular-course juvenile idiopathic arthritis (pJIA), Systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (sJIA).

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Cipla Receives Final Approval for Generic Sustiva® (Efavirenz Tablets 600mg)

Press Release

Cipla Limited, today announced that it has received final approval for its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for Efavirenz Tablets 600mg from the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA).
Cipla’s Efavirenz Tablets 600mg is AB-rated generic therapeutic equivalent version of Bristol-Myers Squibb Pharma Company’s, Sustiva®. It is indicated in combination with other antiretroviral agents for the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 infection in adults and in pediatric patients at least 3 months old and weighing at least 3.5 kg.

According to IQVIA (IMS Health), Sustiva® and its generic equivalents had US sales of approximately $105M for the 12-month period ending April 2018.

The product is available for shipping immediately.

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Cipla Receives Final Approval for Generic Isuprel® (Isoproterenol Hydrochloride Injection USP, 0.2mg/mL)

Press Release

Cipla Limited (“Cipla”), today announced that it has received final approval for its Abbreviated New Drug Application (ANDA) for Isoproterenol Hydrochloride Injection USP, 0.2mg/mL, single-use sterile Ampoule from the United States Food and Drug Administration (US FDA).

  • Cipla’s Isoproterenol Hydrochloride Injection USP, 0.2mg/mL, ampoule is AP-rated generic therapeutic equivalent version of Hospira Inc’s Isuprel® Injection, 0.2mg/ml and is indicated for the treatment of…
  • Mild or transient episodes of heart. block that do not require electric shock or pacemaker therapy.
    Serious episodes of heart block and Adams-Stokes attacks (except when caused by ventricular tachycardia or fibrillation).
  • Use in cardiac arrest until electric shock or pacemaker therapy, the treatments of choice, is available.
    Bronchospasm occurring during anesthesia.
  • As an adjunct to fluid and electrolyte replacement therapy and the use of other drugs and procedures in the treatment of hypovolemic and septic shock, low cardiac output (hypoperfusion) states, congestive heart failure, and cardiogenic shock.

According to IQVIA (IMS Health), Isuprel Injection and its generic equivalents had US sales of approximately $148M for the 12-month period ending April 2018.

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Cipla Opens Up To Crowd Sourcing Innovation

Cipla has outlined its intent to incubate disruptive ideas in the healthcare space, along the lines of similar initiatives to accelerate innovation from US/European big pharma. It hopes that this “culture” will expand in India.

Cipla Expects to back disruptive ideas in the healthcare space
Cipla Ltd. has initiated efforts to back open innovation/crowd sourcing models in the healthcare space, breaking new ground as an Indian company entering a domain that has primarily seen the active engagement of big US and European pharma groups.

The Indian firm has introduced “Innoventia”, through which it expects to crowd source and incubate“disruptive” ideas across the healthcare spectrum ranging from pharma, diagnostics, devices, digital and services, to “any other way to help in taking Cipla’s purpose of ‘Caring for Life’ forward.”

Disruptive ideas under the Innoventia innovation challenge that make the cut stand a chance to be partnered by Cipla; the Mumbai-headquartered company indicated that it could also invest in and incubate a unique idea with $15m especially allocated for this purpose.

“Investment size may vary from a “few crores of rupees (1cr=10m) to $15m,” a statement from Innoventia said. Innoventia expects to back ideas at any stage – ideation, proof of concept or in early revenue stage; the idea should, however, have “growth potential” over the next three-five years.

Incubating The Next Set Of Start-Ups
Cipla told Scrip that it hopes some of these new ventures will help take the healthcare sector to the “next level” as it undergoes major transformation.

“Across the world, large pharma invests in new ideas and we want to bring the same culture in India. As a large and responsible corporate citizen, Cipla feels it is its responsibility to incubate the next set of start-ups in healthcare,” Cipla explained.

Cipla’s Innoventia initiative, claimed to be the first such effort by an Indian pharma company launched globally, but with a special focus on Indian start-ups, is interesting in the backdrop of the general trend of domestic pharmaceutical firms and venture capitals seemingly more willing to “shop abroad” rather than to back home-grown innovation. Several Indian entrepreneurs including Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. founder Dilip Shanghvi and Biocon Ltd. chair Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw are, however, known to have made investments in their personal capacity to back promising young firms.

Innoventia also comes at an interesting juncture as front-line Indian companies transition from pure generic plays to embrace complex/specialty products; some are also developing new drugs. Acquiring late-stage opportunities and targeting areas that have unmet needs or provide clinical advantage are expected to be part of strategic efforts to supplement internal pipelines, top industry executives have previously indicated. It will be interesting to see if more Indian firms open up to similar incubation ideas.

Navroz Mahudawala, managing director of Candle Partners, a boutique investment banking firm, believes that Cipla being a larger firm with a “slightly wider corporate initiatives gamut” is more of an exception and it’s unlikely many other Indian firms would follow suit.
“Majority of the large and mid-sized companies today are completely embroiled in sorting out the domestic pricing and US FDA issues currently. There is a lot of senior management bandwidth which seems to be dedicated on day-to-day operational issues rather than strategic initiatives for most large Indian companies,” Mahudawala told Scrip.

As Flexible As Possible
While the details around Innoventia are not immediately clear Cipla underscored that it would be flexible with a partnership and investment model, should a start-up want to continue to be “perceived as independent rather than an arm of a large pharma company.”

On comparisons with similar large initiatives in the space such as Johnson & Johnson’s JLABS and Bayer AG’s Grants4Targets, Cipla said: “We believe our focus across the entire healthcare spectrum is wider than more specific pharma focus. We also believe our support – across funding, incubation, commercial agreements, mentorship – is vaster than many other events.”

JLABS, which provides resident emerging firms with a capital efficient and resource-rich environment, is built around a “no-strings attached” model. Beyond infrastructure, JLABS resident firms can also access to Johnson & Johnson Innovation’s broader network, which includes R&D and therapeutic area expertise, deal-making teams and venture capital arm JJDC.  Cipla also appears to be flexible in how intellectual property issues could be dealt with. On whether Cipla will generally have the first right of refusal to ideas incubated under Innoventia and also joint ownership around the intellectual property, the company said that Innoventia would be “as flexible as possible”, keeping the “inclinations” of the start-ups in mind.

“Our learning has been that the best start-ups would want that freedom to choose and we are prepared for that.” JLABS companies typically retain complete intellectual property and equity in their companies and can do deals – or not – with J&J or its competitors.

This article originally appeared on Scrip.

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“Nicotex Looks Like Regular Chewing Gum; Consumers Tend To Chew It Like That…”

“Nicotex looks like regular chewing gum; consumers tend to chew it like that…”…says Anshul Mishra, category director, Cipla, about her new ad for Nicotex, that is heavy on ‘product demo’ to the point of instructing people exactly ‘how’ to chew it.

“Sahi Dosage, Sahi Tareeka, Sahi Result,” that’s the message for viewers in the latest commercial for Nicotex, a range of nicotine chewing gum by pharmaceutical company Cipla. The product is aimed at helping smokers quit the habit. The 21-second long TV commercial closes with the brand’s tagline, a reassuring “Nicotex, it works.”

Nicotex’s latest TVC ‘sahi tareeka, sahi results’

Nicotex has released a host of ads over the years. Its TVC #UquitIQuit from around three years ago shows a couple of friends engrossed in a cricket match on TV. When one of them lights a cigarette, the other dares him to give up smoking if he himself, ditches his love for fried snacks. Thus, #UquitIQuit.

Nicotex’s #UQuitIQuit TVC

Another TVC from around a year ago shows two old buddies meeting up at a school reunion. They remember how one introduced the other to smoking years ago. As it turned out, the one that introduced the other to the habit had quit with help from Nicotex. He goes on to recommend the nicotine gum to his buddy who’s tired of just promising his wife that he’ll quit smoking. But unlike these ad films, the latest one aims to ‘educate’ the viewers about the ‘correct’ way of using the product. Taking the correct ‘dosage’ of what is not another ‘ chewing gum.’

Nicotex Brand Television Commercial. Nicotex It works

Speaking to afaqs! Anshul Mishra, category director, Cipla Health Ltd. discusses the motive and the plan behind choosing this particular format for the ad film.

Mishra says, “The ads for Nicotex are rooted in insights that we gather from our consumers we are targeting. In this case, it is the smokers. We found out from internal consumer surveys that there are two strong beliefs in smokers who plan to quit; firstly, most Indian smokers consider themselves heavy smokers, even if they smoke seven, ten or fifteen cigarettes a day. Thus, they choose a stronger dosage of the product thinking a stronger dose would help them quit faster. Secondly, Nicotex also looks like regular gum and consumers tend to chew it like chewing gum. It is very important to choose the right dosage. Nicotex is available in two dosages, 2mg and 4mg. The 2mg dose is sufficient for the ones who smoke 7-15 cigarettes but is counter to the normally held belief of choosing the heavier dose. Again, chewing it like regular chewing gum causes uneasiness. Since the consumer base is growing, it is critical for us to educate the consumer. The ad is centred on the right way of consuming the product.”

Speaking about the media planning for Nicotex’s ad and choosing a TVC as a medium for delivering the message to the target consumer, Mishra says, “A consumer might be exposed to a bunch of ads during a break. A consumer, who is looking for a particular product, tends to notice the particular product ad from the bunch. I think it’s really about being present where the main consumer is; whether it is the channel or the placement of the ad etc. A consumer who intends to quit tends to notice our ad more than the one who doesn’t. And there are always viewers who might not want to quit and do not notice the product. But there will always be some who will imbibe it and might give the product a thought the next time they step out.”

Nicotex launches #EkCigaretteKam Anthem to inspire smokers to quit smoking. It is a part of #EkCigaretteKam campaign

Mishra also tells afaqs! about Nicotex’s new ad campaign ‘Ek cigarette kam.’ “We are sending a message that it can be done. It is about taking baby steps towards quitting smoking. We just released the ‘Ek cigarette kam’ anthem and there is more to come. World No Tobacco Day is on May 31, which is right around the corner and it is the right time for the campaign,” Mishra says.

Speaking about using the age-old style of exhibiting the product and its features in an ad, Anuraag Khandelwal – executive creative director and creative head of Soho Square, the agency that crafted the ad, says, “Irrespective of the era, the problem defines the solve. Incorrect usage or dosage directly impacts the efficacy of Nicotex. The message is technical, so we kept the delivery simple.”

While speaking about challenges in preparing the ad film, Khandelwal says, “The key challenge was to keep the message uncomplicated. I mean it is very easy to go down a rabbit hole of information trying to say everything. Instead, only what is important was retained. For this piece, we decided to keep it in its simplest and most relatable form.”

afaqs! spoke to industry experts for their take on the Nicotex commercial.

“It’s a very tough category and this seems like an ‘extra-mild version’ infomercial,” says Viren Razdan, managing director, Brand-Nomics, a strategy consulting company.

“In the past, hard campaigns have run prompting/ challenging smokers to quit the habit, so perhaps this soft commercial is for people with the intent of quitting (though, as any smoker will tell you, half are perpetually in that mode). I am sure this campaign would have other forms of activation; sampling to generate trials and get familiar with the product. On its own, it’s a sweet, harmless infomercial,” Razdan says.

Praful Akali, founder and MD, Medulla Communications, an agency that specialises in healthcare communication, is of the opinion that there are more cost-effective ways to deliver a message to consumers who are already using the product.

Akali says, “The ad seems to be focused on educating consumers on the right way to use the product. Understand that this is a category issue, but there are certainly more cost-effective ways than a TVC to educate consumers that are already using the brand, like packaging, website, retargeting etc. Even if the objective was to teach consumers how to use the product correctly, it could be done in a more engaging and memorable way. I know that Nicorette from J&J, globally tells their consumers to Chew-Park-Chew which is at least easier to understand and remember.”

“I know that consumers are looking for a solution to quit smoking and not just a nicotine gum. Accordingly,

there is so much to educate consumers on – when to quit, how to plan for a quit attempt, how to select the right smoking cessation product, how to control urges, how to manage withdrawal symptoms etc. – and using the product correctly is just one small part of that. Creating a platform for consumers that supports them right through the quit-journey is a good option,” Akali concludes.

This article originally appeared on afaqs

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