BASF takes ‘Industry Target Group’ approach to serve Indian pharma industry
The Indian pharmaceutical industry has made its mark in the global arena. Prasad Chandran, Chairman, BASF Companies in India and Head South Asia, talks to Express Pharma about India’s strength in generic pharmaceuticals, thrust towards innovation and BASF’s Strategy 2020. The pharmaceutical industry in India has made significant progress in the last few years and is recently gaining a presence in the international market. The market is estimated to be already worth more than $20 billion, with the strongest growth among the emerging pharma markets
What is driving the pharmaceutical industry in India? Where do you see it 10 years from now?
The Indian pharma industry ranks high in the emerging markets, in terms of technology, quality, and range of medicines manufactured. The major growth of the Indian pharma industry was and still is driven by blockbuster branded drugs going off-patent: utilizing India as a low-cost production hub. However in order to secure a sustainable growth, India has and had to depart from simple headache pills, to move on to more sophisticated antibiotics, and now to complex therapeutic compounds. In this regard new molecules, new formulations hence own IP are and will become even more important in the future. The country’s rapidly expanding economy, increased spending in healthcare, and rising consumer expectations, are strongly supporting this development.
BASF has announced formation of Industry Target Groups (ITG) as a part of its Strategy 2020. What is the significance of forming ITG? How do you think your customers will benefit from it?
The formation of Industry Target Groups is to organize the sales efforts around key industries where we intend to put our resources and thus better serve the needs of our customers. By looking closely at the value chains in these key industries, we can produce better products and services for our customers.
At BASF, we know that innovation, speed-to-market, and cost effectiveness are key to the growth of pharma companies. Our ITG approach enables us to have better collaboration amongst the business units involved thus, promoting better knowledge transfers. This would create efficient and reliable links internally, which helps in creating and offering a wider range of pharma product and services to help customers at every stage of the pharma value chain, (eg. from drug discovery, preclinical studies, clinical phase, API manufacturing, drug formulation and even upto packaging). From a customer’s point of view, they can enjoy better end-to-end participation and in return have enhanced competitiveness in the market.
How do you feel it will benefit BASF?
We can see BASF will be better positioned to provide products and solutions based on BASF’s global knowledge across a variety of technologies. Network of expertise and knowledge is one of our greatest assets.
With the ITG approach, every business in BASF can orchestrate together with a common goal towards customer needs. Secondly, we can unwind our potential to serve more customers by leveraging the established relationship from other businesses. Thirdly, we can make BASF a single destination for solutions in the Pharma industry.
Does India have the R&D capabilities? What is BASF’s R&D strength in India?
India has world-class Intellectual Property Protection Laws. The implementation of Patent and Copyrights Laws as well as alliances with global players is fueling the rapid advancement in R&D. This along with the highly qualified research staff, who have often gained their education and first working experience in advanced research countries such as the US, have set the foundation for the ongoing shift of R&D activities to India. Today, India develops both, new drugs and modified drugs—also called reformulated generics. Especially in the latter India has become world-class. In this regard, India is mirroring the early development steps of Japan from where it has evolved to one of the top countries for pharma research.
Local innovation and local production are important drivers for the business growth in India. We therefore want to develop new applications, products and solutions together with our customers in Asia, adapted for local as well as global needs, and then serve them through our sites and our talent in the region.
What is the range of pharma products/solutions that BASF offers in India?
BASF offers a range of products to the pharma industry, which includes metabolite profiling, catalysts, reagents, solvents, protective groups, building blocks, custom synthesis, generic APIs, excipients, plastics for healthcare and diagnostics, and packaging applications for anti-counterfeiting purpose.
Who are your main customers?
As we offer products across the value chain; from API manufacturer to variety of finished dosage forms, we have offerings for almost all pharma companies in India.
What competitive advantages do you see for India over the Western world?
Besides the obvious benefit of being a low-cost production hub, India has a good network of world-class educational institutions and a skillful workforce with high managerial and technical competence. The country’s track record for development, particularly in the area of improved cost-beneficial chemical synthesis for various drug molecules, is excellent. Above all, it has a considerable middle class market, which continues to grow rapidly.
BASF’s future plans for growth in the pharma industry?
The pharma market in India is growing fast, and BASF wants to be part of this growth. To better focus on the rapidly developing Indian market and to better support our customers locally, we have set up a state-of-the-art pharma application center in Thane (Mumbai) in 2008. Especially this year, we have significantly ramped up the number of customer trainings and trials.
BASF believes that only through continuous interaction and scientific exchange with the pharma communities, we can excel in our solutions and services offered to our customers. The response to the recent 5th International Boron Conference organized by BASF in Hyderabad was overwhelming.