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Natco to Start Generic Prevacid Sales in Four Months

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July 24 (Bloomberg) -- Natco Pharma Ltd., the drugmaker backed by billionaire Dilip Shanghvi, expects to start supplying generic Prevacid, its biggest drug to date, in three to four months, Chief Executive Officer Rajeev Nannapaneni said.

The Indian company is awaiting approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for the heartburn medicine. Natco is ready to start manufacturing as soon as it gets the approval, Nannapaneni said.

“This would easily be the single largest launch for the company,” Nannapaneni said in an interview in Hyderabad, where the drugmaker is based. It “would keep good earnings for this year and also going forward to the next year as well.”

Natco, which in March won a so-called compulsory license from the Indian government to sell copies of Bayer AG’s Nexavar cancer treatment, may earn about 420 million rupees ($8 million) in the current fiscal year from selling copies of the Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. acid reflux medicine, Siddhant Khandekar, an analyst at ICICI Direct, said in an interview. Rival Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Ltd. received an approval for the medicine in October 2010, and began selling an over-the-counter version in May.

Natco’s model has been to rely on partnerships with other companies to market its generic medicines in the U.S. The Prevacid copy will be marketed by Actavis Inc. and Breckenridge Pharmaceutical Inc., ICICI Direct said in a June 1 report. Exports may grow 15 to 20 percent this year, Nannapaneni said.

Shanghvi is chairman of Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd., India’s biggest drugmaker by market value.

To contact the reporters on this story: Sharang Limaye in Hyderabad at slimaye@bloomberg.net; Adi Narayan in Mumbai at anarayan8@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Arijit Ghosh at aghosh@bloomberg.net