Indian Venture | June 18, 2007 Issue - Vol. 85 Issue 25 | Chemical & Engineering News
Volume 85 Issue 25 | p. 14 | News of The Week
Issue Date: June 18, 2007

Indian Venture

Aptuit and Laurus create a drug service provider
Department: Business

Yet another company is tapping into India's rich scientific resources while benefiting from the lower cost of manufacturing there. Aptuit, a Greenwich, Conn.-based drug development services firm, is expected to announce on June 18 that it has formed a joint venture with Hyderabad-based Laurus Labs.

Aptuit will sink $100 million over the next four years into the venture, which will be called Aptuit Laurus. The goal is to offer customers the gamut of drug development services—including discovery, medicinal chemistry, lead optimization, process and formulation development, and manufacturing—out of India.

Aptuit, which already has an information technology center in Bangalore, spent about a year developing the venture, says Vice Chairman Frank J. Wright. "We decided it would be better to partner with an Indian business leader than to build from scratch," he notes.

Laurus, founded in late 2005, already has an R&D center in Hyderabad. The facility currently houses about 200 people and has space for up to 400 chemists, 200 analysts, and 100 formulation scientists.

The Aptuit investment will help pay for a large-scale manufacturing site that Laurus is building in Visakhapatnam, on India's east coast. The site will be completed in early 2008 and will house multiscale production equipment.

Drug companies are becoming comfortable with bringing sensitive intellectual property into India, and Aptuit sees its activities in India eventually mirroring those in Europe and the U.S. "Customers will be more than happy to have their new chemical entities developed there," Wright maintains, pointing out that big drug companies such as GlaxoSmithKline, Wyeth, and Pfizer have all placed medicinal chemists in India.

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