BiovelBangalore-based biopharmaceutical start-up Biovel Lifesciences is looking to exit from the life sciences space and is keen for an early outright buyout. Biovel has been in dialogue with several companies including Ranbaxy, Avesthagen, Shantha Biotechnics Ltd and Orchid Chemicals, it is learnt.

Biovel which is an Indo-US joint initiative began in mid-2004 by P Sudhakera Naidu, who was its managing director and CEO. But now there is a change of management.

BiovelThe company had made a Rs 50 crore investment for the phase-1 of the project and Rs 70 crore was earmarked for its phase-2 expansion in 2009. Its pilot plant equipped with a 19 litre fermentor, lyophilizor, down steam process equipment and filling machine was set up to produce samples for initial market tests and clinical trials. Its manufacturing unit was built according to US FDA standards. There were also two independent 300 litre fermentors with upstream-downstream, purification facilities besides a lyophilizor and two independent fill & finish lines.

The company’s state-of-the-art manufacturing unit located off the Bangalore-Old Madras Road was designed to offer contract research and manufacturing service (CRAMS) orders from both India and regulated markets abroad.

It was providing expertise in basic research and was gearing up to manufacture bio-generics and biopharmaceuticals, besides fill-finish of vial/syringes. A slew of acquisitions from the US and Europe were also underway. The company made significant progress in-house development of bio-generics and bio-therapeutic brands.

In July 2007, it inked a pact with Santiago-based Dowpharma for a technology transfer of Pfenex Expression to manufacture Human Growth Hormone (HGH). This year, the company was working to launch the first indigenous Growth Hormone Disorder product which was set to compete with international brands like Novo Nordisk’s Norditropin NordiLet, Pfizer's drug Genotropin, Eli Lilly's brand Humatrope and Korea-based LG Chemicals' product LG Eutropin Inj.

According to industry sources, the year 2009, has been a period of acquisitions. Globally and in India, the pharma and biotech sector has witnessed several buyouts. These include Pfizer and Wyeth for US$ 68 billion in January 2009. Merck acquired Schering Plough for US$ 41.1 billion six weeks after the Pfizer-Wyeth. In September 2009, Abbot acquired Solvay for US$ 7 billion. In India, it was Ranbaxy acquisition by Daichi Sankyo for US$ 4.6 billion. Sanofi-Pasteur, which acquired ShanH, French subsidiary of Merieux Alliance, is now having a majority stake in Hyderabad-based Shantha Biotechnics. Merck acquired Bangalore Genie which was a subsidiary of Sanmar Chemicals.