Nicholas Piramal plans to produce narcotic codeine for the domestic market. The company also plans to conduct clinical trial in US for cancer drug

Nicholas Piramal has planned to enter into production of narcotic codeine, used in various drugs. The company’s first quarter results were dented because of its non-availability. There are 20 other companies dependent on codeine. Nicholas Piramal has submitted expression of interest for manufacture of the narcotic and is awaiting grant of licence.

The narcotic production is controlled by the centre. The two government factories manufacturing codeine have stopped production because of fire in those units and there are little chances of these being revived. The government has decided to import codeine, but things are not moving fast. There are moves to allow private sector players enter codeine production.

Nicholas Piramal Chairman Ajay Piramal on behalf of CII has met the Finance Minister P Chidambaram for speedy import of codeine who has promised to look into the issue. Setting up a codeine manufacturing unit would take at least three years and till then domestic drug makers would have to depend on imported codeine.

Nicholas Piramal has decided to conduct clinical trial for the first time in the US for its breakthrough blood cancer drug. “P276”, the drug for multiple myeloma (blood cancer), having completed Phase I trial for toxicity in India will go for Phase II clinical trial by this year-end in Dana Farber Cancer Institute in USA.

This drug approval by USFDA is significant because it comes from a developing country. This cancer drug discovered in 2000 has undergone a clinical trial in Canada, besides India for toxicity. This drug is believed to stop cancer cell multiplication and the toxicity effect is found to be minimal.

Besides the cancer drug, Nicholas Piramal has two more drugs undergoing Phase II clinical trials and nine more are in pre-clinical trials. The drugs in clinical trials are for treatment of diabetes, infectious disease and inflammation.