For GSK Pharmaceuticals Ltd, vaccines is clearly a major focus area, currently constituting about 8% of total sales.
That contribution would soon reach 11-12% of total sales,” said Mehernosh Kapadia, senior executive director.
The Rs 1,871 crore company is planning to launch Synflorix, a paediatric vaccine for middle ear infections and invasive pneumococcal disease in infants between 6 weeks and 2 years in late 2010.
Kapadia says Infanrix Hexa, which is a six-in-one vaccine, is aimed at a launch in late 2010, or 2011.
Infanrix Hexa is targeted at Diphtheria+tetanus+pertussis+Hib+hepatitis B+inactivated polio vaccine.
The vaccine focus will help the British giant in a market like India which, according to Evaluate Report, was worth about Rs 3,600 crore in 2008, growing at 10% per annum.
Kapadia says on an average, a new product should garner sales of Rs 50 crore within 5 years of launch.
According to Bhavin Shah, research analyst with broking firm Dolat Capital said GSK Pharma’s consistency in maintaining operating margins of 35-36% per annum is to do with primarily with its fast-growing vaccine portfolio.
The company has already launched vaccines like Rotarix, Cervarix in the last one year.
Rotarix, targets diarrhea caused by rotavirus, which is transmitted through breath, food, water, and is contagious, and attacks the intestines causing severe vomiting and frequent passage of watery stools. Rotavirus accounts for 25-55% of all hospital admissions for diarrhea.
Industry experts believe vaccine for rotavirus diarrhea would have a good potential in India, a country where, according to UK medical journal The Lancet, diarrhea caused by rotavirus kills over 100,000 children below the age of five each year.
Cervarix which was launched in 2009 is aimed at immunisation against cervical cancer (which is caused by the human papillomavirus) in females between the ages of 10-25 years.
However, according to a paediatrician from a corporate hospital in Bangalore, though the market potential is huge, if the vaccines are not included in the National Immunisation Programme, it may get difficultto unlock the value of the market.
“Also, a vaccine like Cervarix is not only expensive costing Rs 3,299 per dose (three doses are needed), but is a niche vaccine targeting girls. These factors could limit its sales,” said a Bangalore-based paediatrician at a corporate hospital in Bangalore.
According to Bino Pathiparampil, vice president, research, at institutional brokerage IIFL, the base of new product launches is higher for domestic drugmakers as their pipeline mainly consists of generics.