Biocon in drug development talks with Bayer-paper

Thu Oct 4, 2007 1:23am EDT

BANGALORE Oct 4 (Reuters) - India's largest biotechnology firm, Biocon Ltd (BION.BO), is in talks with Germany's Bayer AG BAYG.DE about jointly developing biotechnology drugs, the Economic Times reported on Thursday.

"We are considering options to develop products together," Bayer Chairman Werner Wenning, who met Biocon officials in Bangalore last week, told the newspaper.

"As of now, we have not yet signed any cooperative agreement."

The paper quoted Biocon Chairman and managing director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw saying that the agreement with Bayer might involve the co-development of biotech drugs as well as research services.

A spokeswoman for Biocon, which wants to grab a larger share of research outsourcing as global drug makers look to cut costs, was not immediately available to comment on the report. Biocon earns a major portion of its revenue from branded drugs like BioMab EGFR, which is used to treat head and neck cancer, and its enzymes businesses.

The company plans to increase the share of research services business to a quarter of its total revenue in the next five years from about 15 percent now.

In March, U.S. drug major Bristol-Myers Squibb (BMY.N) said it would work with Biocon's research services unit, Sungene, to set up a facility in Bangalore to aid discovery and early drug development.

((Reporting by Sumeet Chatterjee, editing by John Mair; Reuters Messaging: sumeet.chatterjee.reuters.com@reuters.net; +91-80-3982 7450)) Keywords: BIOCON BAYER/

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