Global Healthcare Companies Seek to Bet on Indian Startups for Fresh Start
Last year when global oncology leader Roche signed a $550-million deal to team up with Curadev, a tiny Noidabased firm set up by two seasoned researchers, it didn’t really make the headlines. Yet the deal, cherry-picked by a global scouting team of the Swiss biotech giant, resonated with other innovation-based drug makers and medical device leaders such as Johnson & Johnson Innovation, Philips and Medtronic.
Curadev had demonstrated skill that fitted in with Roche’s plans as it was developing a potent tool that could fast-forward the company’s immuno-oncology push. One of the hottest areas of cancer drug research right now, this line of treatment aims to help the immune system battle cancer. Roche was not the only company that had scanned Curadev. The startup’s cofounder Manish Tandon said it had received offers from five other global companies over the course of nine months.
“MNCs understand the importance of innovation — close to 15 per cent of their top line goes to R&D,” Tandon explained. “If you have a good asset with a clear IP (intellectual property) position and you have got a novel mechanism of action, then people are going to buy it,” he said, downplaying the research partnership that’s among the most substantial in the Indian pharma space. Curadev is emblematic of a growing trend of Indian startups that have begun to attract attention from global research specialists.