Many drugs have two or more forms of the same chemical entity but the molecules arranged differently in space. Of the isomers, only one generally offers all the therapeutic benefits with the others having side-effects. Isolation of benefits results in smaller dosages with lesser side-effects.
SUN Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd is to launch a chiral version of the anti-ulcerant drug omeprazole - 'es-omeprazole' - within this month. The chiral version of molecule is a derivative with lesser side-effects and, hence, could be termed as more efficient than the molecule itself. Officials of Sun Pharmaceuticals confirmed about the introduction of the product shortly in the Indian market. However, any further details as to the price or the brand name were not divulged.
In this particular segment, there are three other players, namely Zydus Cadila, Dr. Reddy's Laboratories and Ranbaxy Laboratories. Astra Zeneca, the worldwide patent holder of the molecule omeprazole, has an isomer version that goes by the brand name 'Nexium' which it launched in March 2001 in the regulated markets.
The anti-ulcerant market in India is estimated to be over Rs 444.63 crore growing at 14.6 per cent with about 10 to 15 major firms competing. Analysts are optimistic of the launch and said that this would bring about further rationalisation in prices of the product es-omeprazole. The omeprazole market is estimated at about Rs 135 corre and growing at 11 per cent. One of the major brands of Dr. Reddy's Laboratories is the omeprazole product, 'Omez', which grossed about Rs 42.8 crore last fiscal with 10.6 per cent marketshare.
Cipla (brand name - Lamazol), Torrent (Omerac), Wockhardt, Bohringer and Emcure are other companies in the field. Sun Pharmaceuticals has products in the other derivatives of the omeprazole molecule, one each in pantomeprazole and lansomeprazole.