"We have become a one-stop shop for life sciences researchers"
–Sudhir Kant, president, Millipore India
In January 2005, Dr Martin Madaus joined Millipore as its new global chairman, CEO and president. With him came a new leadership, a new strategy, and direction. The question in Dr Madaus' mind was how to make Millipore a $2 billion company by 2010. This thought ignited a quiet, but a major shift in strategy and transformation of Millipore. Prior to his taking over as the new CEO, for several decades, Millipore was mostly focused on filtration technology. Further, it used to hive off its business units as soon as it neared the $1- billion mark. In 1994, Millipore divested its Waters Chromatography division and focused on its membrane business. It hived off its microelectronics business (Mykrolis) in 2001 and refocused exclusively on its biosciences business.
Millipore is now a changed company, focused on the life science markets. Its strategy is to acquire or create innovative new technologies that help improve customers' productivity in laboratory research and in biopharmaceutical manufacturing.
During the next few years, Millipore expects to substantially increase its revenues by broadening its product offering through internal R&D, acquisitions and alliances. In 2005, it kick started this strategy by acquiring Swedish company NovAseptic AB and MicroSafe BV. In 2006, Millipore acquired Newport Biosystems and Serologicals.
While its new direction emphasizes on revenue growth, it has taken decisive steps to streamline its manufacturing plants and improve the efficiency of its global supply chain. It reorganized the R&D organizations in both its bioscience and bioprocess divisions, brought in new leadership, and established a technology scouting group.
In July 2006, Millipore bought Serologicals, which was a $300 million company, as part of its strategy to focus in the life sciences market. Millipore was about $950 million prior to that acquisition. It has become a $1.3 billion company in 2006. The mindset of Millipore is changing, not just globally, but also in India.
Sudhir Kant, president, Millipore India, tells BioSpectrum, the progress of Millipore in India following the global change.
How is your current business organized?
We started earlier with two divisions--BioProcess and Bioscience. And today we have created strategic business units under these two main divisions. Till the Serologicals acquisition, the Bioscience division was providing filtration products. The Serologicals transaction has widened our capabilities and is making our Bioscience division more competitive.
Serologicals was a combination of various companies with several technologies. The group comprised companies like Upstate, Chemicon, LINCO, and Celliance. It was acquired for $1.4 billion. And this gave us 6,000 licenses and almost a product is being released every week.
The Bioscience division has now been structured around four key business units, providing total solutions.
The Laboratory Water unit caters to a complete range of point-of-use laboratory water purification systems that remove contaminants and ensure water purity for laboratory researchers.
The Biotools unit is focused on a broad range of high-quality products that separate, isolate, and purify biological samples in order to ensure the integrity of scientific experiments.
The Research Reagents unit supports the life science researchers by providing antibodies and reagents that help identify and measure cellular interactions and functions.
The Drug Discovery unit offers products and services that enable biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies to evaluate drug candidates.
We have the largest facility worldwide for polyclonal antibodies--production, testing purification and conjugation. In fact, seven out of 10 monoclonal antibody manufacturers depend on Millipore.
What are the current products and services that you are offering?
The biggest advantage that we have is that Chemicon and Upstate brands are very well known in the industry. And with Millipore's international presence it made a perfect synergy with this acquisition. We have over 15,000 products and over 6,100 employees globally. This is one of the strongest portfolios in the area of life sciences.
Our expertise is in areas of neurosciences, oncology, metabolic diseases, stem cells, and signal transitions. A lot of research is happening for reference testimony. We have a variety of cell culture products, including highly purified proteins and tissue culture media components, used primarily by biopharmaceutical and biotechnology companies as nutrient additives in cell culture media.
Through Chemicon, we offer specialty reagents, kits, antibodies and molecular biology tools. It is a leading supplier of monoclonal antibodies, conjugates, antibody blends and molecular and cell biology-based detection kits for use in diagnostic laboratories.
We have a drug discovery services division that functions like a contract research organization, besides selling a broad range of research products, including specialty reagents, kits, antibodies and molecular biology tools. This division is focused in areas like kinases, GPCRs, and ion- channels. This portfolio mainly came from Upstate, which is one of the leading providers of drug discovery services targeting kinase biology-based drugs. We also offer ion-channel drug screening services, which is an important tool for detecting potentially toxic side effects in therapeutic compounds.
We also have a regulatory compliant lab for people interested in doing work on biomarkers and circulating proteins. This strength comes from LINCO, which is a leading developer of immunoassays for simultaneous multi-analyte detection and for identification of proteins. The company also sells kits that include cytokine/chemokine panels (human, rat and mouse) and endocrine panels (human, rat and mouse) that target metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and cardiac diseases. We provide bioanalytical, clinical trials and custom assay development services.
On the Chemicon side, we also provide custom antibody development and production for both polyclones and monoclones. We have the gold standard reagents.
We are already making the lab water, filtration tools etc. and with the new line of products we have become a one-stop shop for the life sciences researchers. In India, we are also doing the validation part under the BioProcess division, which has four key business units--filtration and chromatography; advanced manufacturing solutions like disposable manufacturing components; process monitoring tools; and bioproducts and technologies.
How big is your Serologicals team and business in India?
It is al most a new business in India. We have spent about nine months in training and setting up the infrastructure. And we would be increasing the business by differentiating through training the customer, understanding the customers and their applications, and handholding. We have four technical service people, four PhDs, one in sales and marketing and application specialists. However, the total bioscience team would be close to 80 personnel. We are the largest team across the industry in India.
Researchers in India will benefit from the large services team that we have in six offices across the country. We have an application team and a technology team. We have also spaced the technology team across the cities to be close to the customers, which mostly comprises of PhD holders.
The biggest change that customers will see today with Millipore's approach is application guides. That will help the customer get what he wants. We have already test marketed two guides, one for immunodetection and the other for cell biology and this has helped the researchers. Our website is also oriented towards encouraging scientists understand the applications. This is very different from a catalogue approach.
Ch. Srinivas Rao