Dr Reddy’s gearing up to get substantial slice of Revlimid generic opportunity in US

Drug maker Dr Reddy’s said it is gearing up for the US launch of its generic version of chemotherapy drug Revlimid next month.

Revlimid is a top-selling cancer drug from Bristol Myers Squibb. Its generic form, called lenalidomide, is seen as Dr Reddy’s most anticipated product for FY23.

Last year, Revilimid had raked in $8 billion for Bristol Myers in US sales. It represents a sizable opportunity for Dr Reddy’s which is facing pricing pressure and competition in certain key products, such as generics of Suboxone and Vasopressin.

In the first quarter of FY23, US sales for Dr Reddy’s stood at $231 million, down by 13% from the previous quarter.

“It has the potential to be a significant launch,” said Erez Israeli, CEO of Dr Reddy’s, in a recent interview with ET.

Dr Reddy’s will face competition from other generic rivals such as Teva-Natco Pharma,

, Zydus Cadila and in the 5 mg, 10 mg, 15 mg, and 25 mg dosage forms, but it is for 2.5 mg and 20 mg where it is eligible for 180 days of generic drug exclusivity.

As per the agreement with Bristol Myers, Dr Reddy’s can sell limited volumes of generic Revlimid till January 31, 2026.

Israeli declined to give further details on generic Revlimid volumes and sales, citing “confidentiality”. Along with Revlimid, Dr Reddy’s has guided at least 25 launches in FY23.

On price erosion of generic drugs in the US market, Israeli said pricing pressure will remain a permanent fixture in the US.

“As long as you are offering to replace somebody (competition), or somebody is offering to take your place, the pricing pressure will continue,” Israeli said.

Israeli said that with competitors offering 20-30% discount, the incumbents are forced to match those prices to stay in the game.

He said Dr Reddy’s is focusing on products with less competition, better cost structure and more new launches to offset pricing pressure in the US market.

“In the products where there is less competition, people will not come to replace you, then you can enjoy more time with better price,” Israeli said. “Also you need to have a good cost structure. You need to work with R&D and operations to maintain costs better, and you need to have more products that will replace the value that you lost on the products.”

Of Dr Reddy’s 175-plus product pipeline, 40% are injectables or sterile, over complex products across drug-device combinations, peptides, long-acting injectables, and ready to use (RTU) injectables.

Israeli said over-the-counter (OTC) medicines is another segment among its US generics business that the company is betting on and is looking at launching patented OTC products that will go off patent.

“OTC is an important and growing segment for us. It’s a segment that we like and believe in,” Israeli said. “It allows us to have direct communication with the customers. In OTC we have our own brands, and also do private labels.”

About a fifth of Dr Reddy’s US sales comes from OTC products.