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Guaranteed demand

Small businesses are going to dispute the generic drug market

The Technology Development Industrial Park of Ceará (PADETEC) and the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul (UFRGS) are both creating incubators to group together small businesses that are going to be the producers of generic medicines. The two initiatives are pilot schemes and count upon the support of the National Council of Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq) and will integrate themselves into the National Project of Incubators for Technology Based Businesses.

The CNPq will finance the purchase of equipment and consumer materials, according to Kumiko Mizuta, the General Coordinator of Agriculture/Cattle Raising and Biotechnology Research at CNPq. The two contracts, already signed, are valid for two years and can be extended. The expectation of the CNPq is that the projects will deal with all of the production chain of the generics, including the synthesis of the active reactants for these medicines. Presently, only 15% of the active reactants for generics are produced in the country. The new companies are going to produce medicines that are in high demand such as captopril, ampicillin, cephalexin, cetoconazol and verapamil.

Guaranteed market
In the PADATEC incubator there are seventeen companies, seven of which are able to produce generics. The active reactants for the medicines will be developed by Polifarma, a pharmaceutical company which settling in Ceará. The market is guaranteed: the government of the State of Ceará, which buys on average R$ 7 million in generic medicines, will absorb the production of the drugs and guarantee the new companies an average income of R$ 1 million per year, according to the information given by Afrânio Craveiro, the superintendent of PADETEC. “The government, interested in stimulating the creation of a pharmaceutical base in the State, is going to support the start up of these companies, through the purchase of their products and through incentives in production.” he says.

The PADETEC, which has a budget of R$ 750 mil from the CNPq over the two-year period, intends to stimulate the development of companies capable to develop medical active reactants such as the case of Procariri, which will produce L-Zopa, used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease. The generic drugs produced by the incubator companies in the Industrial Park should be in the market by June, when the Polifarma factory will also enter into operation.There will be certificates from the Clinical Pharmacology Unit which will be opened on the 23rd of March of this year, and which will be responsible for the running of tests on the bioequivalence of the generics.

“Orphan” medicines
At the UFRGS, the idea of creating an incubator for the production of generics and of “orphan” medicines – those that are not on the market with the desired presentation, such as, for example, medicines without pediatric prescription – came about three years ago, even before the regulation of these medicines. “The School of Pharmacology already had an industrial laboratory and wanted to have it qualified for the development of new technologies and for housing an incubator which would increase the chances of the commercial application of academic research.” said Paulo Mayorga, the coordinator of the project at the university.

The UFRGS is going to invest R$ 400,000 in the construction of the physical area, adequate to the norms for the production of medicines, in order to house new companies or those already built. The project will have a plant to attend to medicines in solid form, (pills, capsules, granules, etc.) and a laboratory for the development of medicines that will be shared between the incubating companies. The CNPq will spend a further R$ 350,000 over the two-year period. “There already are various interested groups. We will publish the bid for the selection of the companies by the end of the first semester and the proposals will be evaluated by their technical viability and market prospects.” states the coordinator Mayorga. The goal is to synchronize the enterprise with the demands of the Health System. “We are looking for the support of the State. The natural evolution is that the project will be a cell which will generate new technologies, create new jobs and expand regional income.”