expand its presence in Asia Pacific markets”
—Rizwan A Khan,
senior sales director, LATAM & APAC, Sheffield Pharma, Kerry
Sheffield, a part of
Kerry Group, has a long history of being a leading manufacturer of
media components and excipients for the pharmaceutical, biotech and
fermentation industries worldwide. In an exclusive interview with
BioSpectrum, Rizwan A Khan, senior sales director, LATAM &
APAC, Sheffield Pharma, reveals the company’s plan to expand
in the Indian market, and the growth prospects offered by the Indian
What is the business
strategy of Kerry for the Indian market?
In line with our strategic development program, Kerry has devoted
considerable attention and resources to expand its presence in Asia
Pacific markets. Currently, we have 120 facilities located in 55
countries. We continue to expand our overall presence in Asia Pacific
region. Our Asia headquarter is based in Singapore. We have a strong
manufacturing and R&D presence throughout Asia,
including China, Korea, Japan and Australia.
India represents a strategic part of our growth plans. In 2002, we
established a sales and marketing office in Mumbai, and are now looking
to expand our presence, to serve local market demands for our
cell nutrition and excipients businesses. In Asia, we have a major
platform on which we will build our technologies and product offerings
to customers in the pharmaceutical and life sciences. We are also
expanding our presence in India to serve the demands of our cell
nutrition and excipients business in the local market.
What kind of products
does Kerry provide for life science companies?
Sheffield is a leader in innovation and applications of cell nutrition
and excipients, serving the pharmaceutical markets worldwide. We
provide application expertise and innovative solutions for cell
nutrition, human nutrition, vaccines, diagnostics and excipients. We
have a strong reputation as a leading anhydrous lactose supplier with
decades of experience in the pharmaceutical business; and have been the
leading manufacturer of media components and excipients for the
pharmaceutical, biotech and fermentation industries for over 60 years.
We offer pharmaceutical ingredients, which are lactose products,
emusifiers and other excipients. Our life sciences division sells
animal and non-animal products like peptone and protein lysates. We are
the worldwide leader in the peptone segment. Our protein hydrolysates
are manufactured using the state-of-the-art manufacturing and automated
control processes. Similarly, our lactose excipients are certified to
meet all compendial requirements of the NF, EP and JP monographs.
As a part of the Kerry Group, we have the broadest ingredient and
flavor technologies, development resources, and backing of a $6 billion
(about Rs 28,848 crore) worth global organization. This allows our
pharma application teams to develop innovative new cell nutrition
applications and cell nutrition-designated products, including
solutions for vaccine-related and diagnostic format products. Overall,
we have a very diverse portfolio and deeper application expertise,
which is the core strength of our business in helping customers deliver
greater yield and productivity.
How do you look at
India as a market for Kerry’s range of products?
India is leading its way in industrialization, and is an important
destination for us. Almost all multinational pharma/biotech players
have their presence here, it is important for us to be able to serve
their needs locally. By expanding our operations in India, we are
responding to our customers, who are looking for local
technical expertise, technical and marketing support, and physical
inventory. This will enable us to provide products and support more
closely to their manufacturing facilities.
Can you tell us more
about Kerry’s marketing activities in India?
Currently, we have direct sales and marketing capabilities in India
that support the pharmaceutical organizations that are based in India,
as well as to the customers in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
Additionally, we partner with sales distributors as well as many
channel partners across Asia. Moving forward, we are exploring various
possibilities with regard to our operations in India, which may include
adding sales, marketing, R&D, manufacturing, and supply chain
Kerry’s strategies for the Indian market?
We are in the process of finalizing our strategies at this time. Part
of this will include: looking for appropriate channel partners and ways
to serve our multinational partners directly through a local presence.
Part of my role here is to help finalize the strategy, and
organizational structure for our operations in India, to
ensure that we are continually exceeding our customers’
What sort of
investments are made in India?
Unfortunately, I am unable to comment on this right now. We are still
determining the right structure and the exact amount of investment that
will be required. But, what I can say is that India is our primary
focus, and it will be at the top of our list in terms of what we need
to do to continue delivering greater innovation and value to our
customers in India.
Do you see India as a
strategic location for setting up your R&D center?
We have a global network of 26 technical centers with over 450
R&D personnel with an ingredients portfolio exceeding 9,000
products. We have R&D technical centers located in Europe, the
Americas, and Asia. For pharmaceuticals ingredients, we have
R&D expertise based in the US and Europe. As we continue to
grow our business here, we would like to see India as another strategic
location for our R&D expertise.
We have sophisticated global manufacturing capabilities
covering several different processing technologies with over 75
manufacturing facilities in 16 countries worldwide. Kerry has
production plants for protein specialties in North America and the
Netherlands, and a production plant for yeast extracts in Scotland. Our
protein hydrolysates have a wide range of applications. In addition to
its superior performance in cell and tissue culture and fermentation
applications, it is also quite popular as supplements for human
performance/nutrition, and as functional food ingredients. Our
pharmaceutical excipients are produced at a fully GMP compliant FDA
registered drug establishment in Norwich, New York, US.
What is the kind of
competition faced by the company? Who are your competitors?
I think it depends on how you define competition. If you say our
competitors are the lactose suppliers, then I would say, we are well
ahead of them. If you think our competitors as other excipient
producers, then I say, I don’t think there is
another company out there that can offer customers the spectrum of
product knowledge, application expertise, and technologies that we
have. Sure, there are a few companies that specialize in a couple of
sectors, or combinations of them. But not across the whole spectrum in
the way that we can.
We have an advantage because of the fact that our application base is
so broad, and our expertise extends well beyond one cellulose or
protein hydrolysate. We bring it all together and use our technology
for a much wider range of applications to deliver the results for
developing the business of our customers.
What according to you
is the market trends now?
We have seen a gradual shift in companies establishing manufacturing
bases in India and China, with some moving away from the US and Europe.
India is also turning into a R&D and formulation hub. It is
establishing a market for pharmaceutical ingredients. India has the
highest number of PhD holders than any other country, thus providing
access to people with technological capabilities to support formulation
development and R&D.
From a product perspective, the trend continues to move from
animal-free to more defined non-animal protein media. Our
animal-derived protein hydrolysates (peptones) were the first step
towards serum-free media (SFM), and we were the first to
market non-animal-derived protein hydrolysates for both serum
replacement and general media/system optimization.
Any challenge that
you face while entering the Indian market?
Regulatory is always a challenge, especially, as national and
international regulatory regimes increasingly oppose to the use of
animal-derived products. Sheffield operates in highly regulated
markets, so we have experience in handling regulatory issues. I think,
we are positioned well to address the expansion of our operations in
India, and also provide regulatory service and products to help our
customers make the registration of the drugs easier.