India: An Emerging Knowledge Superpower - Pharmaceutical Executive


India: An Emerging Knowledge Superpower

Pharmaceutical Executive

Ranbaxy aims to develop a business mix of generics and NCEs. Today, it has a NCE for malaria, which will be starting Phase II clinical trials soon and, if all goes well, should hit the market by 2009 or 2010. "We have a rich pipeline of products in different development stages and have established a research alliance with GSK. We are the only Indian company to have that kind of an alliance. I think that model is very good for us, I am looking at doing more alliances and hopefully in the next twelve months, we might announce something in that area."

Ranbaxy today has direct operations in 49 countries, which probably makes it the most global, if not among the top two, in terms of international spread.

"We do not see competition in terms of Indian companies; to us competition is global," Singh says. "We are not an Indian player. We are a global player based in India. India is just one more of our markets. We sell our products in over 125 countries and have manufacturing facilities in eight countries. Furthermore, 80 percent of our business is international and only 20 percent is domestic. The way in which we operate, our mindset and our multicultural workforce make us a global organization."

The discovery of new molecules

Torrent Pharmaceuticals has been part of the Indian pharmaceutical industry for almost five decades. It was originally conceived as an API and generic pharmaceutical company. It first specialized in Antirheumatic and CNS drugs. Anticipating the changes following the patent law in 2005, the company set up a state-of-the-art research center in 1996. "The patent law provides opportunities for an R&D intensive company like Torrent to market its own molecules and capitalize on them in the global market," says Sudhir Mehta, Chairman of the Torrent Group. "Currently, we have more than 500 scientists working on drug discovery and development. I believe this is the only R&D center in India capable of conducting studies all the way from Phase I to Phase IV."

This center has not only developed several processes, products, and platforms for the generics business, but has also made excellent progress in developing new molecules. An example of this commitment has been its work on the AGE (Advanced Glycosylation End-products) Breaker compound. Another substantiation of its strong R&D capabilities is its alliance with AstraZeneca to conduct collaborative research for developing novel anti-hypertensive drugs. Currently, the company spends around eight to nine percent of its annual sales on R&D and has seven discovery projects in the pipeline: three in diabetes and related complications, one in cardio-vascular, two in obesity, and one in cerebro-vascular.

"Our growth strategy in the domestic market consists of two key elements," explains Mehta. "Firstly, we plan to record an aggressive growth in the key therapeutic areas in which Torrent is already present, through product and marketing differentiation. Secondly, we will start working in new therapies and molecules through our own research, inlicensing, and acquisitions." Although it is an extremely competitive and price-driven market, Mehta is very optimistic about Torrent's performance in India: "We are expecting to achieve a significant increase in our market share in the next five years by entering new therapeutic areas, launching new products and aggressively promoting our current product portfolio. This should help us position ourselves within the top five companies in the Indian Market."

Glenmark has been experiencing dramatic growth since 1998/1999. This is what gave the 28-year-old company the revenues and cash flow to finance its innovative branch. "We believe the generics business will become commoditized in the long run, mainly because of the large number of players from India and China that are currently entering into the generics game. So we think it is essential for us to have innovation under our belt. Glenmark's longterm objective is to become an innovative company," says Glenn Saldanha, Managing Director & CEO of Glenmark Pharmaceuticals.

Although the company continues to be strong in the generics and APIs' space, it has, over the last five years, attained a leadership position in the drug discovery area in India. "This is the key change that we have been working for as an organization. A shift from branded generics into innovation," Saldanha explains.


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