India: An Emerging Knowledge Superpower - Pharmaceutical Executive

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India: An Emerging Knowledge Superpower


Pharmaceutical Executive


Aurobindo Pharmaceutical, one of today's another Indian generic manufacturer, also started as an API manufacturer. In the mid 1990s, the company decided to focus on the regulated markets, which meant entering the generics business. It invested over $350 million, mainly in infrastructure and R&D, to achieve this target. During this period, the company built seven USFDA approved plants, four for APIs and three for formulations.

"Our large modern plants have allowed us to become very strong in the APIs segment," insists K.Nityananda Reddy, Managing Director, of Aurobindo Pharma Ltd "These plants have also boosted our strength in the generics business as we manufacture the APIs that are used in most formulations that we file. We manufacture our own APIs for most of the ANDAs and dossiers that we file in Europe." The company has today a product portfolio of over 180 APIs and 250 formulations. Furthermore, this API strength has helped them to position Aurobindo among the world's top four manufacturers of semi-synthetic Penicillin, Cephalosporin and Anti-Retroviral.


N. Prasad (Left) and Rajiv Malik (Right)
Last year, 80 percent of the company's revenues came from APIs' sales, and 20 percent came from generics. However, according to Reddy , this balance should change, as Aurobindo has lately been very aggressive at filing its products in the United States, Canada, and Europe. "We have also been using these dossiers to file our products in other important markets such as Brazil, Mexico, and South Africa. Subsequently, we expect that in the next three to four years the balance will shift to 35 percent APIs and 65 percent formulations."

As a result of these successes, Forbes magazine recently listed Aurobindo on its top 100 best-rising Asian companies. A fair decision, according to Mr. N. Venkat, Senior Vice President : "Aurobindo is a very strong company that is committed to investing in the necessary infrastructure for accomplishing our medium and long-term goals. In the last four years no other Indian player has invested more than $350 million, as Aurobindo did. These four new USFDA approved plants have given a boost to our manufacturing and R&D capabilities, which together with our efficiency at dealing with filings make Aurobindo a very interesting company."

The success of 'Peopleware'

Based in Hyderabad since its creation in 2000, Matrix Laboratories Limited is a public company engaged in the manufacture of APIs and Solid Oral Dosage Forms. Within five years under the present management led by Executive Chairman N. Prasad, Matrix has transformed into one of the fastest growing pharmaceutical companies in India, with a focus on advanced markets, such as the United States and Europe. "While we created global scale manufacturing infrastructure (hardware) and well represented marketing base (software), we attribute our success to Peopleware," explains Prasad. "Being a knowledgedriven company, we strongly believe in human capital. Our progressive HR policy is driven by the philosophy of 3 R: Recognize, Respect and Reward the knowledge."

Matrix has four manufacturing sites for APIs and intermediates in India. Of these, three are located near Hyderabad and one near Visakhapatnam; all are approved by FDA. The combined FDA-approved capacity is one of the largest in India.

Before Reddy acquired Betapharm, Matrix made history last year in the Indian pharmaceutical industry by acquiring Doc Pharma in Belgium. The company continues to look for synergetic alliances and acquisitions, after various alliances with ASPEN, Mchem, and Concord. To its CEO, Rajiv Malik, Matrix's success relies on "exploiting our potential, and partnering with different players at different sides. We never put all our eggs in the same basket. We cooperate with different partners at both ends."

R&D is naturally playing a vital role in the development of this leading pharmaceutical company, which is trying to further sharpen its skills around research. "We have already put decent assets to provide sufficient capacity for the forthcoming patent expiries," says Malik. "We stand out in this area. In today's competitive world, you need some sort of specialization to stand out and survive. Innovation will be the underlying fabric in our business."


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