Mr Sunit Trivedi, director
BD Biosciences, India
Becton Dickinson (BD) India's Biosciences division has come a long way
since the establishment of India's first ever flow cytometry training
center in the year 2003. BD has created its own market for cell
analysis and flow cytometry under a very niche umbrella. BD Biosciences
recently completed the acquisition of Accuri Cytometers, a US-based
company that develops and manufactures personal flow cytometers for
In an exclusive interview with BioSpectrum, Mr Sunit Trivedi, director,
BD Biosciences India spoke about the opportunities, challenges,
competition and future.
Q What were the challenges BD faced
as a biosupplier?
Among the challenges, the entire payment procedure and the tender
process is very bureaucratic. Also, corruption is rooted deep inside
the system. All these issues need proper attention and immediate
redressal. The procurement process has to be simplified and made easier
for the scientist to buy his product of choice. Also, there are certain
products that have specific requirements for transportation. The
products that need to be stored at -80 and -20 degree Celsius sometimes
perish because of lack of proper cold storage facilities at the
airports. The custom clearance must be quick for such products as it
might perish in inappropriate conditions in two-three days.
I also feel that pharma R&D should have more subsidies and rebate
should be given on the 15 percent tax being paid by pharma companies
doing R&D including CROs.
Q How has the recent takeover of the
Indian companies by the US majors helped?
There is a need to take these takeovers positively. These companies
have been acquired because they are doing something innovative at the
local level. The taking of innovative technologies to the global level
will certainly help the Indian economy to grow in the long run.
Q What kind of acquisitions and new
partnerships has BD done in the recent times?
We keep acquiring companies from time to time. Recently, we acquired
Accuri Cytometers, a US company targeting scientific people looking for
personalized flow cytometers that are cheap and easy to use. The
acquisition expands BD's presence into the emerging affordable personal
flow cytometer space and helps expand the use of flow cytometer
technology. Therefore, this takeover of Accuri which has a fantastic
range of products with benefits such as compactness, easy-to-use, and
affordability will address the concerns of this segment. The cost of
high-end analyzer that costs around $100 thousand will now be cheaper
by 50 percent.
We will also run a corporate social responsibility (CSR) program for
capacity and capability building. We plan to establish a much bigger
training center from our existing one at Gurgaon and rope in the
Masters level students of biotechnology into the program. The idea is
to make the future researchers aware about the technology.
Besides the flow cytometry coupled with reagents, we are also growing
with our business unit, Pharmingen. The company has introduced more
than 5,000 products addressing the needs of a broad spectrum of
biomedical researchers. Actually, it is a continuous evolving program
depending on the needs of the scientists. BD has also targeted the
unique segment of plastic ware for in vitro fertilization. We have also
tied up with National AIDS Control Organization (NACO) for the
monitoring of AIDS.
Q What is your take on the competition?
The core research market is getting stagnant. At the same time, the
education market is quite big if the universities also start doing
research. Since we cater to a very specific market, we enjoy complete
monopoly over the segment of cell analysis and flow cytometry. During
this business since last few years, we have established three Centres
for Excellence (CoEs) at NCBS, Bangalore, Kolkatta University and CDRI
Lucknow. Thats what makes us different from the others in the supplier
space in which companies are generally considered as opportunistic and
Q What are your views on the growth
of the biotech industry?
The Indian biotechnology industry missed the bus for targeted growth as
a lot of work in the form of pharma R&D was lost to China.
The hopes pinned on the new molecules have also not worked. The last
few years have been prone to recession and it has also affected the
growth of the industry. Since the aspirations of the biotech industry
have not been fulfilled, I think that government has to put more
efforts to boost the industry.
The schemes such as BIPP and SBIRI by the Department of Biotechnology
need to be utilized by more companies for the effective progress of the
sector. Besides that, India is good at the generics and biosimilar
areas. The biogeneric space has lots of good opportunities and it is
said that around $80 million worth drugs are set to go off patent by
2020. Going by that the industry definitely needs a new innovative
strategy to drive growth.
Q What is the future
outlook of your company?
We certainly want to evolve. We will be targeting the huge
biotechnology education research market and also focus on expanding our
reach in training. The personalized flow cytometry and higher education
market offer a huge opportunity for growth. We are trying to cater to
this space with technology, affordability and easy to use products. I
feel that India and China together can be huge markets for this segment.
Besides the three existing CoEs, we are also looking forward to
establish seven new CoEs in the next five years. I feel that there is
still a wide market for analysis and diagnostics. Therefore, we would
also be trying to tapthis vacant space.
in New Delhi