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January 06, 2007

Profile of Advinus Therapeutics

Businessworld has a glowing profile of Advinus Therapeutics, a pharmaceuticals research and development company founded by former Ranbaxy Labs scientist Rashmi Barbhaiya and backed by the Tata Group.
By August 2006, none other than industrialist Ratan Tata was inaugurating Barbhaiya’s dream project — a drug discovery lab at Pune’s Hinjewadi biotech park. What’s more, the $22-billion Tata Group, among India’s largest, has sunk $30 million for a majority stake in Advinus Therapeutics, which owns the lab. Barbhaiya, with a smaller stake, is CEO and managing director.

...Advinus has partnered with the $22-billion US company Merck in a deal that is potentially worth $150 million in milestone payments. Merck has identified targets (genes, proteins, enzymes, etc., linked to disease) and hits or chemicals that might work on them. Advinus will convert these into experimental drugs and do early human trials on them. Merck will take these trials further. If a drug is commercialised, Advinus gets royalties. This is for metabolic disorders. It is now looking to sew up another deal with Big Pharma in the field of inflammation. Advinus has built a 65-strong team of scientists and a well-equipped discovery lab in Pune in a matter of months. In Bangalore, it has secured 150,000 sq. ft of lab space with scope for expansion. Owned until recently by Tata company Rallis India, this centre is now part of Advinus and houses a 100-plus development team. It offers development services to western pharma and agrochemicals makers in exchange for a fee. The icing on the cake is snagging a majority shareholder in the Tata Group.
Arun Natarajan is the Founder of Venture Intelligence, the leading provider of information and networking services to the private equity and venture capital ecosystem in India. View free samples of Venture Intelligence newsletters and reports.