Glenmark plans cancer drug unit in ArgentinaMid-sized pharma company Glenmark Pharmaceuticals has decided to set up a facility to produce oncology drugs in Buenos Aires in Argentina to strengthen its presence in the global cancer drug market that is expected to grow by nearly 80% to $85 billion in four years.

Glenn Saldanha, CEO & MD, Glenmark Pharmaceuticals, said that the company currently makes oncology drugs on a loan-licensee basis the company provides the products and technology but the manufacturing is executed by a third party in Argentina. “The proposed facility, which will be commissioned shortly, will be our only oncology drug making unit,” he said.

Although he did not reveal the amount of money to be invested in this facility, he said the Argentina plant will have an annual production capacity of around one million vials and will be the global hub for Glenmark for manufacturing two types of injectibles — lyophilised and liquid — used in oncology therapies. These products will be sold in around 20 countries. Glenmark entered into the oncology space through the acquisition of an Argentina company, Servycal, a few years ago.

“Oncology is also one of the focus therapeutics segment in the Latin American region apart from being one of the fastest-growing segment in the pharma industry,” an industry analyst said.

The company already has sales of Rs 198 crore (FY09) from the Latin America region. “While we commissioned operations in Mexico last month, we will also enter Peru and Venezuela shortly. We have already hired country managers for the LatAm region. They have begun the process of filing product dossiers in respective countries so that we can launch our own products in these markets. We already have a significant presence in Brazil and also in the Caribbean region. We commissioned a new manufacturing facility in Brazil last year. This facility will service the branded generics requirements of the LatAm market,” Mr Saldanha said.

The LatAm drug market is poised for a massive growth. The $15 billion Brazilian market is expected to record a 10% annual growth, while Mexico, a $9-billion market, is growing at around 6%. The combined market of Venezuela and Peru is pegged at around $6 billion.

Venezuela is growing in excess of 20%, while the $3.3-billion Argentinean market is expected to grow at 10%. Glenmark expects to record a double digit growth in this region this year.