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Patenting in Drugs : Indian Scientists Rise to the Occasion

The analysis covers a total of 668 applications filed in the Indian Patent Office. The following table gives a comparative picture of the status as compared to the 1996 filings.


(52 issues)

(52 issues)

% change

i) Total no. of applications filed 668 468 + 43
ii) No. of applications from Indian s/ Indian companies 166 65 + 155
iii) No. of applications from foreigners / foreign companies 502 403 + 25
iv) No. of Indian companies to file five or more applications 7 2 + 250
v) Percentage share of Indian companies/individuals in total filings 25 14 + 79

Following is the list of 34 companies having filed five or more applications and total no. of applications filed by each of them :

Novo Nordisk 37
Smithkline Beecham Ltd. 33
Hoechst group 30
Astra Ag. 27
F Hoffmann – La Roche 26
Eli Lilly & Co. 25
Prizer 22
Merck patent 19
Glaxo Group 17
Lupin Laboratories Ltd. 12
Akzo Nobel NV 10
Synthelabo 10
Janssen Pharmaceutica 9
Meam Herbal Remedies 9
Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. 9
Ciba-Giegy AG 8
Sandoz 8
Dr. Reddy’s Research Foundation 7
Edward Mendell Co. 7
Hindustan Lever Ltd., UK 7
Hyal Pharmaceutical Corp. 7
Novartis 7
P.B. Mathur et al., India 7
Rhone 7
Asta Medica 6
Boehringer Ingelheim 6
Japan Tobacco Inc. 6
Sanofi, France 6
Sun Pharmaceuticals 6
J.B. Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals 5
Roussel Uclaf 5
Vertex inc. 5

Filings by Indians/Indian Companies

Indian scientists and technologists have been quick in responding to the post TRIPS challenge by filing substantially more patent applications. The filing by Indians has gone up by 155% over the applications published in 1996 as compared to an increase of 25% in the filing by foreigners/foreign companies. However, the former is now about 33% of the latter as against 16% observed in the earlier analysis, a significant improvement to be noted. Further, now there are seven (7) companies/institutions which have filed 5 or more applications as against two (2) observed in the preceding analysis, showing a growth of about 250%. It has been noted that almost 30% of the applications relate to herbal and ayurvedic medicines; such applications have even been filed by companies like Lupin and JB Chemicals. However, this is only the beginning of a triumphant journey, a successful end will be determined by how many of these are finally accepted and how many of these are picked up for commercialization. A good beginning portends good results.

Of the Indian applications filed, 114 applications were filed by Indian companies and the rest 52 by individuals. CSIR with 19 patent applications, ranks first among Indian companies and enjoys an overall 8th position jointly with Merck Patent. The CSIR applications relate to inventions for processes producing the following : oxindole as intermediate for the producing tenidap an anti-inflammatory agent, analgesic analogous to enkephalin, vaginal contraceptive, 17-ketosteroids, dihydroasperoside & dihudrosiredloside, artmesnin, antibiotic from fermented froths, ciprofloxacin, organotin useful as cytotoxic agents, L-alanyl-1 lysyl derivatives useful as antiasthmatic/antiallergic, pyridines as potent cardiovascular agents, codeinone, chloropropane and 2-piperidone useful as potential hypotensive agents, pyridine and 3-picoline, lipopolysaccharide (LPS), 7 methoxy deoxyvasicinone, 4-arylamino/alkylamino-4-demethylpodophyllotoxins as potential anticancer agents; and epichloromydrin. Three of the Lupin’s applications concern anti-tubercular composition. Other applications include process for purification of atenolol (2-4-hydroxy-3-1) phenyl acetamide, process for extraction of hydroxycitric acid from fruit and garcinia species, process for the manufacture of ceftazidime, process for isomerization of N-7 isomer to N-9 isomer, process for the manufacture of 3-hydroxy-3-cephem derivatives, process for manufacture of caphalosporin antibiotics such as cefazolin, a regiospecific process for synthesis of acyclic nueleosides and ayurvedic formulation from Amla and Ritha. Meam Herbal Remedies has focused on pre-cooked ayurvedic medicinal food and all the applications fall in this area. The applications from Dr. Reddy’s Foundation relate to new heterocyclic compounds having antidiabetic, hypolipidaemic, antihypertensive properties, their preparation and pharmaceutical compositions containing them; benximidazole derivatives as antiulcer agents;novel heterocyclic compounds for treating diabetics and related problems; 4-hydroxy-10-deacetylbaccatin III derivatives;azolidinediones useful for the treatment of diabetes dyslipidemia and hyperension;podophyllotoxin analogues and their derivatives as anti-cancer and anti-viral agents. Applications filed by Hindustan Lever are not included under the Indian Companies as all of these are convention applications.

All the seven applications filed by the Indian citizens, P.B. Mathur et al, are ayurvedic medicines for reducing cholesterol and treating chronic diseases such as cough, acidity and gastritis, piles, sinusitis, and cold. Two of the Sun Pharmaceuticals’ applications relate to antihypertensive fixed-dose combination products while the other two are on topical antibacterial anaesthetic combinations. The remaining two applications are entitled ‘a process for the recovery of tramadol as cis-hydrochloride in asmptotically quantititive amount from mixtures of diastereomers of tramadol’ and ‘an improved process for the preparation of 1-(2,3-epoxy-propyl)-5-nitroimidazole’. Three of the applications from J.B. Chemicals & Pharmaceuticals concern processing extracts from ayurvedic plans such Arjuna, Kantakari and Vibhitaki. The other two applications are preparation of nifedipine containing pharmaceutical extended release compositions.

A few other Indian companies who have filed more than one application with the no. of applications filed given in brackets are Panacea Biotech (4), Ranbaxy Laboratories (4), Raptakos Brett & Co. (4), Tablets (India) Ltd (4), National Institute of Immunology (3), Osmania University (3), Dabur Research Foundation (2), Hindustan Antibiotics (2), IIT (2), Sonic Biochem Extraction Pvt. Ltd. (2), Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Science & Technology (2), and Themis Chemicals (2).

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