October 22, 2003

Sami Labs receives three US patents

Bangalore-based Sami Labs has received US patents on three new active ingredients- Tetrahydrocurcuminoids (THC), Coleus Oil and ZeaLutien. THC is a decolorized extract from turmeric, applied in dermatology, coleus oil is an extract from coleus, a waste product and finds application as an anti-infective agent and Zealutien is extracted from Chilly and Marigold, finding application in geriatric Ophthalmology field.

The three active ingredients in the nutraceuticals and cosmeceuticals formulations have a combined estimated market size of Rs. 20 crore.

Sami currently manufactures about 2.5 tonnes of THC, 1.5 tonne of ZeaLutien and none of Coleus oil. “ Targeting specifically at the US market, we would be significantly increasing our capacities,” said Dr. Muhammed Majeed, Chairman and Managing Director, Sami Labs.

The current international price per kg is $ 300 for THC, $80 for Coleus oil and $ 250 for ZeaLutien. “ After getting patent on their applications, the prices of these products are bound to increase,” he added.

The company is also awaiting patent approvals from India, Europe and Japan for the above-mentioned three ingredients.

These three patents take the total number of approved patents at nine for the company. 15 more patents are pending with the US FDA.

Sami Labs achieved a turnover of Rs. 71 crore for the year ended March 2003. “ In the next three years, we are hoping to grow by 25-30 per cent,” he said.

Dr. Majeed was specifically unhappy over a lack of stricter IPR laws in the country. “The Indian business environment is challenging for us, especially in the absence of strong protection laws against infringement of intellectual property. We believe that patents and exclusive marketing rights strengthen the product life cycle and provide patient population an access to better healthcare solutions. The concern here is how effectively the government will safeguard the interest of the product/process patent holder when using flexibilities such as those cited for epidemics by developing countries. This arrangement will be detrimental to creating a level playing field for Indian and multinational producers of therapeutic solutions.” He said.

Sami has so far invested close to Rs. 60 crore in four production units at Bangalore, Singasandra, Kunigal and Mysore. Sami Labs’ interest in India is evident from its recent infusion of Rs. 60 crore in its R&D facility located at Bangalore. Over the years, Sami has built up R&D team of over 100 scientists, including 20 doctorates in India.

Additionally, the company is driving biotech research in probiotics and is expected to roll out products by the end of 2004. The company is targeting Rs. 100 crore turnover for its formulations business in India by the close 2006. The company is also exploring business opportunities in Nepal.