Deal with NovaBiotics will build Sun Pharma’s dermatological portfolio

New drug expected to be a stepping stone to build its speciality derma franchise

A new drug is expected to be a stepping stone for Sun Pharmaceuticals to build its speciality derma franchise.

Sun Pharma’s overseas subsidiary is Taro Pharmaceutical Industries, and Taro’s US unit has entered into an exclusive licensing and co-development agreement with biotechnology company NovaBiotics for its investigational new drug Novexatin. Novexatin is a peptide topical nail penetrating fungicidal product and is being targeted as a first-in-class treatment for nail infection.

Novexatin has successfully completed Phase-IIa studies and will be entering into a Phase-IIb study in the US. Taro will be the lead partner and jointly manage the study for the US and UK markets. The drug is expected to compete with Sanofi’s Penlac topical and widely used oral terbinafine or generic Lamisil.

Though the financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed, certain initial milestone and upfront development costs are expected.

Taro is confident in the drug’s ability to get final approvals. With the 2012 market in the US put at $548.4m in annual revenue, and expected to grow by 19.5% annually in the next decade, it would also push up sales and profitability for Sun Pharma.

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