Chemical Weekly

October 28, 2003
   

Sami Labs wins 3 US patents; set to conquer global markets with IPR


Bangalore based Sami Labs Limited, a Rs. 250 crore healthscience organizations, has announced its plans to expand its presence in the global market through a renewed focus on discovery and intellectual property.

The company’s 3 new active ingredients — Tetrahydrocureminoids (THC), Coleus oil and ZealLutien have been approved and are set to revolutionize the dermatology, infective ad geriatric ophthalmology markets, respectively. Sami Labs has a total of 27 international patents — 9 approved, 3 allowed and 15 more pending. The three active ingredients in nutraceuticals and cosme-ceuticals formulations have a combined estimated market size of Rs. 20 crore.

Tetrahydrocurcuminoids are the white curcuminoids converted from the yellow active ingredient from turmeric. The component has significant antioxidant application and UV protection. The process of conversion from yellow to white improves bioavailability and eliminates the staining properties of curcuminoids. Lutein and lutein derivatives are used in ophthalmic drugs to treat Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD). The process of stabilization of lutein improves the longevity of the drug and its prevention of ARMD Oil extracted from Coleus Forskohli has strong anti-microbial properties especially in fighting gram positive infections and dental microbial activity. It is superior to the tree oil popularly used in India.

According to Dr. Muhammed Majeed, Chairman and Managing Director, Sami Labs Limited, "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".

Sami Labs hopes to capture 5% of the total market in the next three years with these discoveries. The company firmly believes that patents drive discovery and innovation reflected in its own strategy of research based intellectual property and opportunities to scale up its operations. Sami Labs has so far invested close to Rs. 60 crore in four production units at Bangalore, Singasandra, Kunigal and Mysore. Sami Lab’s interest in India is evident from its recent infusion of Rs. 6 in its R&D facility located at Bangalore. Over the years, Sami has built up a research and development team of over 100 scientists, including 20 doctorates in India.

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

Patent title

Status

Applications

Expected issue

Valid until

Cross-regulin composition of turmeric-derived tetrahydrocurcuminoids for skin lightening and protection against UV rays.

Allowed

October 9, 2001

2003

2023

Process of obtaining compositions of stable lutein and lutein derivatives

Allowed

January 30, 2002

2003

2023

Compositions and methods containing an antimicrobrial essential oil extracted from Coleus Forskohlii
Allowed
October 31, 2001
2003
2023

Another key area of interest for the company is clinical research, which is evident from its recent acquisition of ClinWorld, a clinical research organization. It is also engaged in tissue culture and phytoenrichment studies.

The company is pursuing the aromas and fragrances market in India, pegged at Rs. 1200 crore. Sami Labs is in the process of setting up a fully automated plant to cater to the global and Indian flavors and fragrances market, with an investment of Rs. 5 crore. Godrej, HLL, L’Oreal, Amway and Avon are among the Indian customers.

The company has already undertaken a streamlining exercise to unify operations in Europe, Japan and US, under the Indian umbrella.