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Cipla to reduce biosimilar investment to focus on respiratory, specialty drugs

Cipla Ltd. is planning to shift its focus toward creating a portfolio of lucrative respiratory products by reducing its investment in biosimilar therapies, Reuters reported May 25, citing the Indian company's CEO, Umang Vohra.

The company has halted plans to construct its South African biotech plant, an investment valued at 1.3 billion Indian rupees, and will begin looking for partners for its pipeline of biosimilars, or lower-cost versions of biologic medicines, the CEO said.

Cipla has not yet worked with Western partners to penetrate the biosimilar markets for U.S. and Europe.

The company reported that the existing biosimilars program was "squeezing" its spending on respiratory and other niche, specialty programs, Reuters reported.

Vohra believes Cipla would be unaffected by the continuing U.S. pricing pressure since the company's business there is still small with respect to its competitors.

He also revealed that the company expects to begin filing for the approval of inhalers in the U.S. next year.