'Biomanufacturing solutions will drive the business'
-Dr Martin D Madaus, chairman, president & CEO, Millipore Corporation
Millipore Corporation is a life science leader providing cutting-edge technologies, tools, and services for bioscience research and biopharmaceutical manufacturing. As a strategic partner, it collaborates with customers to confront the challenging human health issues. From research to development to production, its scientific expertise and innovative solutions help customers tackle their most complex problems and achieve their goals.
Millipore announced the opening of a new state-of-the-art applications and training facility in Singapore to meet the growing needs of its biotech customers who have operations in Asia.
In an interview with BioSpectrum Dr Martin D Madaus, chairman, president and CEO of Millipore Corporation shared his thoughts about the opportunities for the company in Asia Pacific region and the shift in the company's strategy. Excerpts:
Considering the market potential in Asia Pacific, how much growth Millipore can foresee coming from the region, in the next five years?
Currently, Asia Pacific contributes about 17 percent to the total sales of Millipore. And from our perspective, I see the portion of the Asian business will get bigger with every passing year. This 17 percent will be 20 percent in the near future. So many research activities are taking place spanning from clinical research, drug development to production in the region. The fact is: this is not just because some international companies are moving into the region. This is, because of the home-grown companies. For example in India and China, the pharmaceutical companies are very strong. That is a good sign. In think in about 10 years, these markets will become very large.
We will be close to 20 percent in five years and probably a quarter of our sales at least in next 10 years will come from the region. Of course, we don't want other regions to go down to make it faster. So, it all depends on relative scenario. You know, the US biotech business is still very strong. When you look at biotech, 57 percent of our biotech business is from US. But within 10 years, we will see a meaningful difference.
What could be the driving factors for the growth of the region?
The driving factors for the region include demographics, increasing prosperity and GDP growth. There is a need for a very large portion of middle class prosperous Asians to have world-class treatment.
Which countries in Asia Pacific region are emerging as major players for the range of products and services Millipore is offering?
We are currently focusing on Japan, India, China, Singapore and Korea. In near future there will be more countries on the list.
How about the market opportunities in India and China?
India already has an established pharmaceutical industry with over 80 FDA approved plants now. This established industry focuses mainly on small molecules. The biotech business too is growing there. And most of this is homegrown. That is why we focus on India and we are very successful there. We have similar opportunity in China, where more emphasis is on research side and general laboratory market. The pharmaceutical industry in China is more focused on research and development and less on production side.
Do you feel that the current recession in US will have any impact on life sciences industry in general and Millipore in particular?
The life sciences industry has historically been very little affected by recessions. I wouldn't say life sciences industry is recession proof, but there will be some general impact. There will be other factors that will impact the life sciences industry.
However, in spite of great uncertainty in stock market I feel good about the future. There are some clouds on horizon for the classical pharmaceutical, but biotech looks strong. We are benefiting here from the shift; for example, India and China are doing more of the work that used to be done in the US or Europe. I think there will be some impact, but it will be limited. And it will not affect the growth of the company in a meaningful way.
Millipore was known as filtration and separation company. From the last year, focus of the company has changed to include entire life sciences. What brought about this change of focus?
The industry, our business and our competitors are going through a phase of consolidation. Also, strategically, we need to make sure that we grow faster than the market, so that we are not marginalized. And we can do so with acquisitions only. It meets our need to grow dramatically faster. Besides, it also helps if you want to get into the new fields such as antibodies.
What are the different divisions that are driving the growth of the company?
The first driver will be the drug discovery division. It is doing very well. It is relatively small in our portfolio but has a huge growth potential. The other one is lab water. It continues to go stronger. Stem cells will be another driver for us. The separation technology and bio production will be combined with the disposal manufacturing, the combination that we call biomanufacturing solutions will help us drive a lot of business. Right now, we see a lot of growth there.