Piramal sees $1.5 bln revenue from potential Alzheimer's drug

MUMBAI Mon Apr 16, 2012 2:08pm IST

Chairman of Piramal Healthcare Ltd. Ajay Piramal gestures as he speaks during a news conference in Mumbai February 6, 2012. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui/Files

Chairman of Piramal Healthcare Ltd. Ajay Piramal gestures as he speaks during a news conference in Mumbai February 6, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Danish Siddiqui/Files

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MUMBAI (Reuters) - Drugmaker Piramal Healthcare sees revenue potential of $1.5 billion from its new florbetaben molecule, a possible Alzheimer's treatment acquired by the company in a deal with Germany's Bayer AG.

Florbetaben, which is in the final stages of clinical trials, detects symptoms in probable sufferers of Alzheimer's and could allow early diagnosis and specific treatment of the disease. U.S. approval will be sought in late 2012.

"There are about 25 million patients of Alzheimer's disease globally and it would grow to 100 million by 2020 ... hence the segment has a huge revenue potential and has lower competition," Piramal Chairman Ajay Piramal told reporters.

"Post U.S., we plan to file for approvals in Europe and Japan as well," he said.

Florbetaben is racing with similar Alzheimer's imaging agents from global pharmaceutical companies such as Eli Lilly and Co (LLY.N), Pfizer Inc (PFE.N) and General Electric Co to enter a global market estimated at anywhere from $1 billion to $5 billion.

Piramal, which makes over-the-counter drugs and manufactures pharmaceutical products on a contractual basis, has agreed to buy a research and development portfolio from Bayer that includes florbetaben, the company said in a statement.

Piramal will acquire intellectual property, worldwide development, marketing and distribution rights of florbetaben and other clinical and pre-clinical assets of Bayer's molecular imaging business in the deal.

Financial aspects of the deal were not available.

Shares in Piramal, valued at $1.5 billion by the market, were trading down 0.3 percent at 449 rupees at 1 p.m. (0730 GMT), having risen as much as 2.6 percent after the deal was announced.

(Writing and additional reporting by Henry Foy; Editing by Aradhana Aravindan and Ranjit Gangadharan)

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