ImageThe Indian pharmaceutical industry is likely to develop its first indigenous drug in the next two-four years and the total investments in R&D is expected to touch over USD one billion by 2015, consultancy firm Ernst & Young has said.

"Some (India) companies have molecules in phase-III clinical trials and once its growth is planned then one expect an indigenous NCE commercialised molecule launch in the next 2-4 years," Ernst & Young Partner Health Sciences Practise Ajit Mahadevan told.

At present, Indian companies have around 66 new chemical entities (NCE), of this nearly 40 are in the preclinical stage while remaining are in various stages of clinical development, he said.
According to Mahadevan, the total investment in Research and Development (R&D) in the pharmaceutical sector is likely to touch over one billion dollar by 2015.

"Key Indian pharma companies are significantly revamping their R&D plans and are likely to spend more than a billion dollars on NCE research by 2015," he said.
According to industry experts, the total investment in R&D in India was USD 495 million in 2006 and has grown at a compounded annual growth rate of 38 per cent per annum between 2001 and 2006.

Meanwhile, Piramal Healthcare Director Swati Piramal has said the entry of first Indian molecule would enhance the image of the domestic industry globally and would completely change its face.

Echoing the similar sentiments, Indian pharmaceutical Alliance Secretary General D G Shah said: "Entry of first Indian drug would garner a respect for the domestic industry, which is generally regarded as the copycat of drugs."

Though Indian pharma companies are no match in term of the financial muscle with multinational pharmaceutical companies. They nevertheless enjoy advantages of the cost competitiveness, access to large talent base and vast patient population for clinical development, he said.

As a result there is a significant reduction in the total drug development cost and development timeliness, he added.

While there is a progress, it must be understood that India's discovery research programmes are in their infancy and the future success will determine the sustainability and growth of Indian pharmaceutical companies, Mahadevan said.