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Hetero sets up Russia venture

Hetero Drugs, the Hyderabad-based active pharmaceutical ingredients and finished dosages manufacturer, has set up an equal stakes joint venture with Russian pharmaceutical major Makiz Pharma. 
As per the agreement, Hetero would transfer the technology of all its anti-retroviral (ARV) products to Makiz and the latter would manufacture them at its plant near Moscow. 
The $63-million Makiz would also set up an API plant in the territory of its Moscow facility. Hetero has 24 titles of ARV drugs, including the generic drug ritonavir, which are planned for production in Russia by Makiz Pharma. 
⌠The incidence of HIV and AIDs is increasing in Russia and the government aims to extend treatment to around 1 lakh patients by 2010 from 15,000 patients in 2006. The JV facilitates the availability of low-cost generic HIV and AIDS drugs in Russia, thereby reducing the cost burden on government and providing treatment to more people, Nail Hamidullin, director of Makiz Pharma, told mediapersons here. 
The Russian government, as part of its Presidential Programme, has allocated a budget of $110 million for HIV and AIDS treatment till 2010. 
Hamidullin said the JV would be formed by June 30, and the production of ARV drugs at its plant was expected to start by the end of this year. He, however, refused to divulge details of investments proposed for the venture. 
According to Hamidullin, the JV would also look at licensing the manufacture of ARV products to other pharma companies in Russia. 
At present, only two Russian pharmaceutical companies produce ARV drugs. Their share in the total volume of sales of such drugs, however, was insignificant and totalled to less than 10 per cent. Besides catering to the Russian market, the JV would also tap the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) countries, Hamidullin said. 
Makiz Pharma and Hetero have been working together since 2005 and marketing some HIV/AIDS products and general formulation in Russia.


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